Grandparent Alienation

Grandparent alienation

“I’m over my estranged daughter,” says Cleo. “It’s my grandchildren I worry about now.”
grandparent alienation

Cleo is like thousands of parents around the world who are not allowed to see their grandchildren. A daughter or son’s estrangement, which can happen for a variety of reasons, usually means the grandchildren are also cut-off. It’s a breakdown in the family where innocent children are hurt.

Some grandparents have formed groups, organize rallies and awareness campaigns, and are fighting for changes to law that would support their efforts. And legislation is moving along the judicial pipelines with some success.

June 14: Grandparent Alienation Awareness Day

It’s a tough road when the grandchildren they have so bonded with are yanked away. “I always wonder what the kids are being told and what they’re thinking,” says Cleo. “Are they wondering if I don’t love them anymore?”

It’s not always estrangement that causes the separation. When one parent or both is incarcerated, sometimes one set of grandparents will swoop in and make it difficult for the other.

One mother whose son (in his 30s) went to prison, spent a small fortune in legal fees fighting against his in-laws for visitation of her young grandchild. Although she was an upstanding citizen with no criminal record and a history of emotional stability, the in-laws alleged that if she raised a son who committed a murder, then there must be something wrong with her. Her son’s was a crime of passion, and he had no previous offenses. Do you think what they alleged is automatically true?

Grandparent alienation: What do grandparents do?

Are you suffering grandparent alienation? Perhaps in connection with estrangement from adult children or for some other reason? Some grandparents consider their options, and decide it’s in the best interests of their grandchildren not to pursue a legal remedy. Others choose to fight with all their might as well as rally for more awareness. Each situation is unique. I hope you’ll share your thoughts by leaving a comment in reply to this posting.

For more information on grandparent alienation:

Alienated Grandparents Anonymous, Inc.
Offers telephone support calls, news of legal efforts, and groups in 50 states and 22 countries.

Grandparents Rights Advocates National Delegation (GRAND USA)
Legislative news and resources and support in 50 states.

Alienated Grandparents Anonymous Canada
Regular meetings, resources and support.

Bristol Grandparents Support Group (UK)
Championing grandparents rights.

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5 thoughts on “Grandparent Alienation

  1. AvatarPeonies

    I went through the same thought process and talked with a lawyer. She basically said, “Sure, you can sue, but you’ll lose” and she was right. In my state, grandparents have no legal rights except under very specific circumstances that I didn’t meet. It’s would be an emotionally and financially bankrupting experience, and I’d lose anyway.

    I love and miss my daughter but losing my five grandchildren is the worst loss I’ve ever experienced and what brings me to my knees in devastation is that they think I don’t love them, when I love them more than they can possibly imagine. They can only know when they are grandparents themselves.

    I’ve gotten a lot stronger about my daughter pushing me away, but when I think about my grandchildren, I go to pieces. I have “visitation” dreams about each grandchild about once every week or two. In the dreams, I’m just hugging them. We’re glad to be together and they might tell me they miss me. In each dream, only one grandchild is “featured” but I’ve dreamed about each one more than once. They’re short and sweet and uncomplicated, and while they are joyous while I’m dreaming, I wake up in emotional shreds. On those mornings, I get out of bed quickly or I’ll inevitably ruminate over everything.

    My grandchildren love me – or they used to. I was a loving, fun, silly grandmother. My motto was “Spoil and Release”. They didn’t choose this and neither did I. A few weeks before my daughter delivered the “You’re out” email, she sent me a link to an article, “Grandparents Who Babysit More Often Live Longer”. I’ll never forget that one week she wants me to babysit more, and within a month I’m toxic and abusive. I have no idea what she’s telling the children about my disappearance from their lives. We only lived about 30 minutes away, so I saw them often.

    In every culture I know about (I’m sure there’s an exception out there) grandparents are the second-most important relationship in a child’s life. Extended families provide love and support, and loving grandparents are integral to a child’s sense of belonging and well-being. My five grandchildren have been denied every single family member on my daughter’s side, as well as on her husband’s. How can not be damaging the children?

    Apparently all of their immediate family members, as wells as cousins, aunts and uncles are all toxic. That helps me realize it isn’t me specifically who has been estranged, and to understand that this total two-family estrangement is irrational, but it helps not one bit when I think of my grandchildren.

    It’s been two years, and I’m better, but not by a lot. I have good days and bad days. On good days, I try to be helpful to others. On bad days, I get support from those same people.

  2. AvatarYaicha

    I was cut off from my grandchildren two weeks after driving out of state to babysit. The oldest had her birthday which was the two weeks after I sat. My son didn’t have the nerve to tell me in person but kept postponing “the party.” After weeks – it finally dawned on me I wasn’t invited, I mailed the gift. They had a party with my DIL’s family but we were cut out. Maybe someday, I can give them their cards and show them I didn’t forget them but I am prepared to never see them again. Who knows what was told to them but whatever it is, they will be damaged. I completely bonded with them. I have a recording on my phone of what they sound like but honestly, it’s getting harder and harder to visualize them – especially when children grow so fast. It’s heartbreaking for the entire family. It’s been so long now, I almost struggle to remember – which is the saddest of all.

  3. AvatarStephen

    When I hear grand parents and child estrangement, I started to link some common development with a certain group, like I fall into.
    I hope Sheri (which is one of my go to forums, I go to for advise and to read about the one’s who are in my same boat) can some day touch on this a little more.
    Grand children, means your child got married, which means there is a new spouse. What I read and in my case, the estrangement for a lot of us, did not happen until a spouse came into the picture, then grand children speeds up the case and can be used as leverage or a hurting property. Can they (spouse) be 100% of the blame, I do not believe so, but they might be the one’s who in-acted or initiated the estrangement. I have read a lot where estrangement occurred after marriage or around the time and stopped when a divorce occurred. This says a lot. I have read others, where this has happened and when the divorced adult child found a new spouse and it happened again. As I read these common denominators, you start to realize, it occurs more often, specially when the estranged child meets there other half. Is it a jealousy figure, a “your not good enough for me and my family, is it feelings might got hurt by something that was said out of error? Never the less, a lot of estrangements happen when your child meets and marries their other half. Did it give them courage that they won’t be alone if they estrange the parents, or did the “Other” person talk them into it. Which ever way it occurs, it will come back to haunt them, as this most always backfires! In my case we started realizing how our adult child’s spouse and his family treated us, once we were brought in to an occasion. We were very uncomfortable and put a stop to the pony show, or piñata beat down of the looks of what we got from them of “you shouldn’t be here”. We do not give them or her spouse 100% of the credit of estrangement, as our child allowed it and carried it out, but we NOW realize where it stems from.
    Happy Fathers Day to all us dad’s out here and thank you Sheri for the Fathers Day wishes!

  4. Avatarpeachy19

    stephen, I have the total different situation my daughter-in-law acts wonderful then after i leave she tells my son all the things i said or did wrong and he runs with it in the past i was excluded from many family functions, all of a sudden she wants to be my best friend inviting me to functions but not my son saying a word i went to my granddaughters birthday and he was cold didnt event look at me, i want to see my granddaughter but do i want to put up with my sons evil eye am i a pawn in there issues

  5. AvatarOceanspeace

    I sympathize and feel deeply the sadness for each of you who have lost contact with grandchildren. My situation is different yet similar. My ED has pulled my grandchildren away from me multiple times, always stating I am the toxic one, the one who “left”,the one who made the mistakes and she did nothing wrong. I have two other daughters that were raised in the same home, same environment that I have wonderful relationships with. But for the ED, the entire family has issues. For nearly 15 years the entire family has walked on eggshells with her, doing things her way, by her rules, to avoid conflict. Any family functions have to be per her time, and her liking. Although she will remember it totally differently. I have always accommodated every wish, and there are many, for the grandchildren. Yet she treats me horribly, criticizes, gives me evil looks, if looks could kill. She always has a need to punish me, and the grandchildren are her greatest tool because she knows how much I love them and they love me. That’s the part that hurts the most and angers me intensely. I can honestly say I may never forgive her for using precious children as a tool for punishment because they are being hurt and punished so unfairly and cruely. I know there is a lot of toxic anger in their home due to her narcissistic issues that harm her relationship with her husband, as well as the way she deals with the children, screaming at them, the oldest is the golden child, the other is the scapegoat and gets the wrath. What makes me even more angry is that my son in law is fully aware of her lying manipulative stories, she has done the same to him, yet he has done nothing in the nearly year of estrangement to try to reach out to let us know that the grandchildren are ok, or that they know we love them, I have sent gifts with no response. I am over my daughter, I really am, I no longer shed a single tear for her, she has broken my heart too many times, but I just really want and need to know that my grandchildren are ok and they know we love them and did not leave them by our choice. I still cry over them every day, it is not getting easier.


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