While grandparents who are denied access to their grandchildren by the children’s parents must certainly feel hurt and angry the fact remains that legally, grandparents are not automatically guaranteed any rights to their grandchildren.
There are a number of things that grandparents can do to best assure that they will be allowed to develop relationships with their grandkids, but in all but the most serious of circumstances, parents have the right to decide which people can and which cannot spend time with their children.
If at all possible, grandparents who are being denied access to their grandchildren should make an effort to mend any hard feelings that exist between them and their grown children.
In most cases, parents keep their kids away from their own parents due to unresolved conflicts that exist between the adults. Sometimes, what starts as a minor misunderstanding grows into an argument serious enough to cause discord amongst family members.
While both sides may choose to stubbornly hold onto the idea that they are “right,” by doing so, everyone loses out on the love and support that happy families provide for one another.
There comes a point when being right becomes less important than getting along, and grandchildren are as good a reason as any to make the decision to put aside past hurts and focus on a brighter future.
Grandparents can contact their grown children and express their desire to talk, preferably at a time when the grandchildren will not be present. If a first attempt is unsuccessful, it may be wise for grandparents to take a step back and give their children a bit of space.
Ending the call by reassuring their kids that they only want to make peace and letting them know that they would be receptive to being contacted at a later time will let their grown children make the final decision about a reunion without applying excessive pressure.
Seeking Professional Help
While it is not reasonable to expect that old hurts can be healed overnight, willing family members can forge an agreement to begin over, leaving old arguments behind.
It can often be difficult for people to see their family members as they really are, but instead they view each other from a possibly outdated perspective.
Grandparents sometimes view their grown children as the irresponsible people that they may have been as teenagers or young adults, while the grandparents may be seen by their grown kids as judgmental and controlling — characteristics that may no longer be accurate for either generation.
Seeking the assistance of a licensed social worker or family counsellor may be beneficial since an outsider can sometimes offer an objective point of view not easily achieved by those closest to the situation.
In some families, the reasons for disagreements are well founded. Addictions, abuse issues, and some illnesses can cause adult family members to purposefully distance themselves from one another and also to protect the youngest family members from being placed in possibly dangerous situations.
In cases where grandparents have a history of destructive or abusive behaviours, it is not unreasonable for their grown children to keep them away from the grandkids.
Grandparents who can admit that they once engaged in distasteful behaviours but have since sought help and mended their ways may be able to convince their grown children to allow them to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives by proving that they no longer pose a threat, but the final decision must be left to the children’s parents.
Parents have a responsibility to keep their children safe, even if it means keeping them from their grandparents or other family members.
Conversely, if it is the children’s parents who are a dangerous influence, grandparents may be forced to seek protection for them.
Grandparents who feel certain that they are being kept from their grandchildren because of their grown children’s gross dysfunctional behaviours may want to seek legal advice.
Children deserve to be raised in a safe, loving environment and while grandparents have no right to interfere with their grown children regarding the raising of the grandchildren under normal circumstances, if the children’s safety or well being is at risk, grandparents must take steps to intervene.