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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19 thoughts on “Grandparent Alienation

  1. Vera

    I was flabbergasted to learn how there are so many grandparents undergoing the pain and suffering caused by being forcibly alienated from their grandchildren. Why ? Why is this happening in our government? It is far beyond morally wrong it is in human to allow such laws that simply say because your only the grandparent and if the patents of the child decide they want you to remain out of their life, the judicial system enforces it. This is being done without taking into consideration( as the law outlines) the relationship between the two was in fact an engendered and pre existed . Although there was a bond amongst them prior to the child’s removal , the court system continues to fail in upholding these few regulations . I know first hand due to a situation I have spent the last 3 years begging and pleading to be heard regarding these facts that pertained to my case.
    It has been devastating each day to live life without my granddaughter . She was in my care from birth until the removal from her mothers legal custody . But because it was a verbal agreement, that I would step in in place of her parents in the hope someday they would step up to the plate and be parents of such a beautiful child, I did not obtain guardianship. It was this mistake that set the stage to loosing all contact with my granddaughter. My daughter’s bad choice accompanied with the lack of consideration to become her guardian by CPS , their interception of court forms submitted to the judge informing of my role and involvement , the social worker not adhering to guidelines set forth, informing immediate family member of adoption proceedings , the deception and promise not kept by my family members (now adopted parents ) my granddaughter and I have been forcibly kept apart.
    I have had to witness her whimper begging for my brother in law to allow her to visit for just a little while. I’ve watched my sister take her from her arm as she took her to their back yard to conceal her from seeing me. It has been horrific to say the least .
    Each waking moment my heart aches missing her . I worry their refusal, to acknowledge clinically proven studies , how children are affected by sudden separation from family members will impact her life .
    I’ve pleaded them to allow us to reunite so to explain to her and reassure her I have not abandoned her . However they stand firm denying the request . Their answer and response only stating ” it’s not a good time right now “. Followed by my sister implicating I did not do enough when the incident occured . Not wanting to understand I was being denied access to the information and was not included in court hearings and procedures. My constant efforts were simply pushed down , push away or ignored .
    This painful experience of fear, mental , emotional anguish is cruel punishment for. an events my granddaughter and I did not expect or desired to happen. We lived together peacefully in a nurturing loving enviroment.
    Although I have not given up , the strain as I continue seeking help has had an effect on my physical being. There is not one day that has passed that i have not made a phone call , researched , or emailed a contact , regarding something that may help .
    I am sympathetic to all and any grandparent that has under gone the experience I have. I can only speak for myself when I say… I will never give up on seeking help to reach my granddaughter or die trying .

    Reply
  2. Sandra R.

    I can relate to so many of these grandparents.
    I live in New Zealand and my daughter and her husband and four children live in Melbourne , Australia , Our family in NZ have never seen our beautiful grandchildren because our daughter wishes it to be that way.
    I have even attempted to got through the Australian court to try to have some /any contact with these children , even being able to send cards for birthdays and at Christmas, to no avail. The Australian justice system is such that the parents have complete control over who their children can be in contact with.
    It is heartbreaking . I have cared for hundreds of children through social welfare , have been a teacher and love children.
    I think the universe stepped up to help me when I cared for a baby nine years ago and she is now part of our family forever . The pain of not knowing my grandchildren is always there, but having a beautiful nine year old to love and care for and enjoy is a blessing I am so grateful for.
    Love and blessings to you all.

    Reply
  3. FriendOfRain

    Not being able to see your grandchildren is so hard. I know this because the same thing happened to my wife and I three years and nine months ago. Since then we haven’t been able to see our grandkids at all. I listen to what all of you have to say and I know your pain.

    But now we have an adoptive grandchild who we love like crazy and see every week. My wife asked the parents if they wanted help and they said yes! Since then we haven’t looked back.

    So the pain of being rejected has led to a new, beautiful thing in our life. Some people call this phenomenon post traumatic growth. Through all this pain that has been inflicted on us there is still the possibility of us creating good and lovely things.

    Love to all, Friend of Rain

    Reply
  4. Karen P.

    My son was killed by a drunk driver when my grand daughter was just 2. I have had every single weekend with her since her birth until she turned 12. The mother is involved with a man who tried to abuse my grand daughter and since I provided evidence to DHHS the mother had refused any visitation or contact these past 3 years. SO for 12 years my husband and I I have been taking the spot of my son and filling in as the Father. The mother has now brainwashed our grand daughter and we did win standings with the court for the right to file a Grandparents visitation case, the DHHS case and Covid has taken priority , 3 years have gone by I do not even know what she looks like now and the brainwashing’s probably so complete that it can not be reversed. We continue to love her and I have been keeping a journal for her with notes and life events. I use to send her notes by mail each weekend but learned they were not being opened. It is very hard to lose a child or grandchild like this due to someone’s hate and manipulation. We are grieving for a child who is still alive and that grieving process will never have closure

    Reply
    1. Donna S.

      My situation is similar. Our son died and daughter in law won’t allow us visitation. I know they are brainwashed.
      Someday I want to attend their HS grad AND should I just wait and pray they will start to be curious about us.

  5. Stacy

    My youngest child, my daughter became angry with me when her father passed away about 18 mos ago. She cut off contact with me for about 6 weeks but we managed to get back on track. Then in September of 2020, she got mad at me, for what i’m still not sure, and she cut me off again and has refused to let me see my 4 yr old granddaughter who i had a wonderful relationship with. So good in fact, she used to bug my daughter to take her to see nana. I left it alone for a few months. I saw her at Christmas and that was the last time. I’ve never known a pain like this. I’ve tried a few times to talk to her, most recently today but she told me if i tried again, she’d file for a restraining order to keep me away. This is the same daughter who just 2 years ago said she could never move to another state because she couldn’t be that far away from her mom. There were times when she’d call me to thank me for being a good mom and when she was pregnant, she said she wanted her daughter to spend as much time as possible with me because there are things about life that only i could teach her. From the day she moved out at age 19, no less than 3 nights a week, she’d send me a text that simply said i love you mom. I have no idea how to deal with this pain or how to fix it. I’ve had days that i cried so much i ended up dehydrated. I have dreams where she’s little and i’m begging her to not hate me when she grows up. I bought and read the book I’m done with crying, however I’m still flailing and desperately wanting to fix this. My heart is broken, and I’m having a very hard time dealing with the pain.

    Reply
  6. DeLynn S.

    It has been nearly two years since my daughter cut me off. Her husband (who is not the children’s father) came after me with a baseball bat when I tried to talk to her a few months after the estrangement. I was and am very worried about her because her behavior had become erratic, suicidal, and hostile. My three grandchildren, with whom I had a very close bond, have been kept from me. I don’t know where they are anymore, since they sold their house and moved away. So much more to say, but too emotionally grieved to articulate this searing pain.

    Reply
    1. Delia J.

      I’m so sorry for your pain, My grandbabies are now being kept away from my husband & I. It’s only been a week, but I’m devistated. I’m afraid they will think I abandoned them & I’m afraid that they might have gotten in trouble for us advising them to call 911 if their dad was choking or hurting their mom again or if they felt in danger. We thought we were giving the right advise. I’m not so sure anymore.
      Anyway, I feel your pain.

  7. Suzanne

    Well, we are estranged from our 2 sons going on a year now. We just had our 2nd grandchild which we will probably never see. I have read the book and done the work which helped greatly. It is our oldest who sends all the hateful texts on behalf of them and their wives. I finally got the courage to say please don’t contact me anymore. I will not be sending anything for Christmas not even a text
    I am glad our grandchildren are too young to remember us. Sad that this is what they have chosen but they are adults. Hardest part is that we gave them everything. Making sure they didn’t have debt when they started out etc. I feel like kids today don’t value family the same anymore. I still have alot of rough days but it’s easier to change my thinking. I wish them well, wish this never happened but know deep down I can forgive but not forget and I refuse to allow them back in to our lives for fear of them doing this to us again. Long road ahead but we deserve better than this.
    Thanks for listening!

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Suzanne, Thank you for commenting. Much wisdom in your words … and kindness. I understand what you mean by saying you are glad the grandchildren are too young to remember you (a loving grandma’s ❤️). Hugs to you.
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Diana

      I can relate. I did everything for my daughter. I helped her with the down payment of her house, furniture, etc. I have a beautiful 4 year old granddaughter that is slowly forgetting me. I have a 1 year old grandson that I never held much less bonded with. Yesterday was my anniversary of estrangement. Yes, Christmas Day., My daughter is a cruel narcissist without a conscience. I attempted to take the grandchildren gifts yesterday but was ignored. My estrangement occurred when I stopped her and her husband from financially exploiting my autistic son which they did so for several years all because I wanted to give my son full Autonomy. They should be in jail for what they did but for the sake of my grandchildren I decided to not press charges. A catch 22. I am tired of dealing with this person that I thought would grow up to be a decent individual. I have read Done with Crying and it has been helpful., These are my only two grandchildren as it highly unlikely that my son will marry and have children. I imagine a life of becoming the grandmother that I once had but I see it won’t be possible. I have read that the best way to deal with a heartless narcissist is to go completely “no contact.” I pray that God grants me the grace of what lies ahead. They say the best revenge is to continue to succeed in life . I want to eat healthy and stay fit. Sometimes the best thing is to let go and let God deal with the situations that confront us and we have no power to change. All things work together for his good. Done with crying. I realize that all my love should be directed towards the son that needs me and loves me. Lady D

    3. LAURA V.

      Yes , The same here. Very very painful I am broken hearted horribly. Grandparents should get together and protest in order for the laws to be changed immediately! I am certainly interested, willing to do it! March in the streets peacefully and go in very large numbers to the Supreme Court and demand these horrible laws be terminated. Let me know if enough grandparents are interested, willing! Only if all come together can it be done!

    4. Sian

      Suzanne, do you still feel the resolve not to let them back in? I’ve been struggling at the great emotional cost to myself to take the abuse from my daughter who just keeps having babies (4 to count) to try and keep contact with them and “save” them. Which I know I cant. She’s not dysfunctional enough to have them taken away but a counselor mentioned she might have something like borderline personality disorder. Ive been dealing with her abuse since she was 5. I’m at a place in my life that I’m making some hard changes, let go of the family home, trying to move forward emotionally and dealing with this grief over walking away from the constant abuse (and 4 grandchildren and all the hopes of family dinners and blah blah blah that goes with that) so I can regain respect for myself, but am finding it hard to be so resolute. I want this resolution. Peace. Move forward. Wish them the best. And I genuinely want to just build my own life. I don’t even know what Im saying. Any words of wisdom that helped you get to where you are?

  8. Pam W.

    I can sympathize with all the parents who are in the same situation as I am. Fortunately, my daughter and her husband have set up a page on their phone where they can post pictures/videos of my two grandchildren for various members of their family which includes 4 grandparents, aunts and uncles. I will give them credit for that because that at least allows me to see updated pictures of my two precious ones and I love it. Periodically they will do Facetime with me and my husband which they did on/about Halloween and Thanksgiving. We haven’t been around our grandkids since about February due to COVID, so they already have pulled away from us, not much interested in talking to us on the phone or being excited to see us. We had established a fairly close relationship with the kids as they only live about a 3-hour drive from us but now the parents won’t let us come around at all, even with masks. The four of them have completely isolated themselves from the world as they’re afraid to get sick. Anyhow, not knowing when we’ll be able to see the kids anymore, I’ve started a spiral notebook on our relationship with each of the kids. If they never see us again (we’re in our 70s), when we pass away, maybe someone will hand these notebooks to the kids and they’ll know how much we loved them and see pictures of us with them. I still have little to no contact with my daughter. If I text her, it may take days, sometimes weeks, before she responds and then it’s usually just an emoji. I would like a conversation with her but she’s not much interested. When we Facetime, she’s very talkative though. She just doesn’t want me and my husband in their lives. If I send clothes for the kids, I may see them on them…or not. When I ask about them, I’m told she and her husband didn’t like the clothes so didn’t use them. What??? If I send a Valentine card for the kids, 2 months later in a photo I may still see it sitting on the counter unopened, not displayed so the kids can see it. The same with a birthday card I send to my daughter. She never acknowledges it and it appears still in the envelope on the kitchen counter. I’ve always thought I just need to stop sending her a birthday card then I talk myself out of it thinking what a bad mom I would be for not sending a card. This year, 2020, I will not send a card though. I’ll do as she does which is send a Happy Birthday text later at night, after the day is over. She has no care or concern for me and my feelings. I’m very sad but am trying to move on with my life. Sheri’s book has been so helpful and I would encourage everyone who hasn’t read it, to do so. I encourage all moms to pick themselves up and try to move forward. Decorate your house for the Christmas season, talk to friends on the phone about pleasant subjects, take lovely walks enjoying the changing of the colors outside and make friends with life. I try not to spend all of my time focusing on my grandchildren and what I no longer have. I like to think I have a lot of life left in me and I need to enjoy doing things nice for myself and others. Peace to all of us.

    Reply
  9. Marlis

    To Debbie
    All i can say to your story is how can people be so mean. What has happened
    To parent children relationship. When there are grand children involved
    It makes me so mad that there is this cruelty and thoughtlessness.
    With everything going on in this world at the moment, and the darkness of the season, it really takes some optimisme to get through this and keep all the negative thoughts away. I do not have it at present. But today i pulled myself together and collected a lot of hollies and ivies and made a beautiful (i think so anyway) wreath for my front door. Just making it made me feel better. Nature and a pet are so healing.
    Sending everybody love

    Reply
    1. Kbolam

      Same. I have pushed forward and away for good to preserve my marriage with the man who helped me raise my children to be decent and loving human beings. He and I have been married for over 23 years and that is my priority now.

  10. familylove25

    It is the grandchildren who suffer the most especially when as the grandmother you are lied about. It is confusing and heartbreaking for the grandkids. My ex daughter in law is a pistol and she will do anything to allienate her children from me, the grandmother and their father (my son). This women has destroyed two of her four children’s lives and now she is working very hard at destroying the two younger children’s lives. I can handle my son and his attitude and I don’t give two hoots about the ex daughter in law but what do you do to help the kids? They are being influenced by their mother and are becoming rude, disrespectful, and unfortunately will loose out. This stuff will only cause their lives becoming harder when in fact we are suppose to be the guardians and the protectors of these kids. These children did not show this bad behavior in the past but I think they are learning it from the mother and her latest hook up. (that is a whole other story). It is hard to understand, painful to watch, and unbearable at times. I love my grandchildren and that is used against me. It isn’t bad enough that we have estrangement from our child but then we have to watch the kids be destroyed. I hear your pain grandparents and I pray for some kind of peace.

    Reply
  11. Donna

    I didn’t know anything like this existed. I had to do a really hard thing And try to protect my first born grandson From his Drug addicted alcoholic parents. Instead ,what I created Was hated for me, and now I can’t even check on my grandson .Who’s feeding him and changing his diaper now? Who’s playing with him and loving on him? I I’m absolutely devastated and horrified! My heart is absolutely broken ! The state of Iowa doesn’t have grandparents laws.! To make matters worse I have 3 grandsons that I don’t get to see by 3 different sons My youngest son is the one I just talked ,about. My middle son crashed his motorcycle a year ago And received a severe traumatic brain injury, And his girlfriend of 5 years left Him so he lives with me now. Shs keeps his 6 month old son’s visits to about 20 minutes a week. To make matters worse my oldest son Has a bipolar girlfriend diagnosed , we got in a stupid little argument when my son got hurt, totally nothing to hold a grudge this long for, Even my son says so he’s very frustrated too but I am banned from seeing that grandson he has to go with the flow he tells me. It is been my dream for quite a long time to be a grandma Now I have 3 grandsons I cannot even see my heart is broken!!

    Reply
    1. Debbie

      I can relate to how you feel. I have two grandsons from two different sons. We had an argument with my son’s wife and now she has cut off contact with us. She made our son choose between us and her. He chose her which I understand because of his son. Their son is only 18 months old and I only got to see him once when he was a month old. It was very uncomfortable and obvious she didn’t want me near her son.

      Then when my other son came home after being deployed, she convinced my son and his new fiance to turn against us too. This was really heartbreaking since he cut off all contact with us and stopped letting us see my 5 year old grandson. I was literally in the delivery room when he was born and have been a major part of his life.

      Thankfully, my grandson’s biological mom was letting me see my grandson on her time but it was hard on my grandson. His dad (my son) began mentally abusing him by telling him I didn’t love him or his dad, I was trying to buy his love, and it got worse and worse. I recently told his mom that I wouldn’t be seeing my grandson anymore in hopes that the mental abuse he was enduring would stop. It has been the most difficult decision I have ever made.

      The holidays are going to be extremely rough this year because I won’t be seeing my grandson at Christmas for the first time.

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