Insights from Parents for Alienated Grandparents

Looking at the Other Side of the Parenting-Grandparenting Divide

Many alienated grandparents claim to have been cut off from contact with grandchildren for no reason. Comments from parents elsewhere on this site suggest that often there are reasons. Without attempting to suggest that one side or the other side is in the right, here are some of the comments made by parents that may contain valuable insights for those struggling with issues of access.

  • 01 of 05

    Not Once Have I Read, "I Miss My Son/Daughter!"

    Sad grandmother alienated from grandchildren
    Being alienated from family members can be sad and confusing. Jupiterimages / Getty Images

    It is telling that most grandparents who lament their lack of access to their grandchildren don't sound equally remorseful about their broken relationship with the parents of their grandchildren. It's never easy for a child to be supplanted in a parent's affection, even by his or her own child. It is understandable, however, that grandparents sometimes prefer their grandchildren to their grandchildren's parents. With grandchildren, we have a chance to start anew, to start a fresh...MORE relationship without the baggage often accumulated in relationships with our children and their spouses. Children are innocent and trusting and usually think that their grandparents are wonderful. That's a hard combination to resist. Still, if grandparents are serious about getting their grandchildren back in their lives, they should start by trying to recover the love that they once felt for their children.

  • 02 of 05

    Grandparents Shouldn't Call Their Grandchildren "My Babies"

    The parent who made this comment has a good point. It distresses some parents to hear grandparents use a possessive to refer to a grandchild, whether it's my baby, my girl, my boy or my darling. True, the parent who minds this does seem overly sensitive, but this kind of sensitivity is usually present when the relationship between grandparents and parents is already shaky. Using these pet terms for grandchildren isn't going to improve the relationship. What may improve the relationship...MORE is carefully observing boundaries. And, while on the subject of names, choose a grandparent name for yourself that doesn't sound like mommy or daddy. That's another trigger for some parents.

  • 03 of 05

    Some Grandparents Are a Bad Influence

    Grandparents are human, and some of us have faults. If you get tipsy or addle your brain with drugs, whether licit or illicit, you can't expect to get to spend time with your grandchildren. If you smoke or swear, try to clean up your act. A separate but related issue occurs when grandparents and parents don't agree about religion. You may see yourself as being a positive influence when you talk about your beliefs, but if they differ from the beliefs of the parents, they will consider you...MORE a bad influence. Whatever you do, don't proselytize. Parents have the right to determine their children's early religious training, or to eschew such teachings.

  • 04 of 05

    If You Can't See Your Grandchildren, You Probably Did Something Wrong

    Sure, there are parents with mental disorders or personality disorders who cut off grandparents for no reason, but those individuals are in the minority. Some alienated grandparents do know or at least suspect what they did that caused the rift in their family. They may feel justified in what they did or said, so they refuse to apologize. Their ego or pride may be involved, and they may not want to give in without getting some concession in return. The surest route to seeing grandchildren again...MORE is an unqualified apology, along with a genuine effort to stop the offending behavior, even if you don't see it as wrong.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Most of You Sound Really Obsessed

    Some of the language used by alienated grandparents does seem extreme. They speak of their happiness depending up seeing their grandchildren, of a grandchild being the love of their life, of the loss of contact with a grandchild leaving them devastated, broken-hearted and suicidal. There is no doubt that alienated grandparents feel many painful and conflicting emotions. These emotions are easily understood, especially when you hear their stories and see that many of them raised their...MORE grandchildren for years. This isn't obsession. It is genuine grief that no one can understand who hasn't walked in their shoes. Of course, alienated grandparents should make an effort to deal with their grief. They should get counseling, go to a support group and find other interests. Many of them have. But it doesn't stop the pain.