Grandparent Rights? No!

grandparent rights

There are a group of people who are currently lobbying for grandparent rights. Visitation rights, specifically.

They claimed yesterday as ‘their’ day.

Flag Day, in the US, has now been co-opted by folks who have their own agenda, and frankly, it’s a frightening one.

Many places already have provisions for grandparents to be granted access in the case of divorce or death of their adult child.

Not good enough for these people.

These folks are claiming that being estranged from grandchildren is not only elder abuse, but child abuse as well.

What a load of crap.

Now, I get that estrangement is painful. Not arguing that in the slightest.

But abuse?!

No. Just…no.

Adults absolutely have the right to make choices about the people they have in their lives, *and* those of their minor children. Where in a divorce, visitation, access, shared custody is an issue, because parents are assumed to have equal rights to their children, unless they’re proven unfit. Grandparents aren’t parents. They shouldn’t have the right to drag families into court, to demand access to children.

Not getting what you want isn’t abuse.

A relationship with grandchildren is not a ‘need’, regardless of what some would claim. Children also don’t ‘need’ a relationship with grandparents. It can absolutely be a lovely, enriching relationship, when all the parties are safe, sane, and reasonable.

However.

If the grandparents,  for whatever reason, do not have a healthy relationship with their adult children, then how can one possibly justify handing over minor children for visitation?

How is this NOT an erosion of parental rights?

And why do some grandparents think that their desire for a relationship with someone else’s children, should supersede parental authority?

It’s a disgusting example of entitlement.

Grandchildren are someone else’s children. You didn’t birth them, you’re not raising them, you don’t have the right to a relationship that the parents have deemed not in the child’s best interest.

I know folks who are estranged from their parents.

Abuse, addictions, untreated mental illness, suspected personality disorders, deliberate and repeated undermining of parental decisions, attempted parental alienation…the list goes on.

I personally know of NO ONE that made such a decision on a whim. It’s been a long, hard road to travel, and repeated attempts have been made to repair and resolve any issues. Estrangement has been the LAST option exercised.

If someone is too toxic for a relationship with adults, then they’re absolutely too toxic for a relationship with children.

What kills me is that folks wouldn’t take their adult child to court, demanding use of their vehicle bi-weekly, just because they enjoyed using it. But, folks think that overruling the parents, and having the legal right to force access to their children is a reasonable thing to try to accomplish.

Yes, children aren’t possessions. Agreed. But they ARE the most valuable part of any parent’s life, far more than a mere vehicle could ever be. And if you wouldn’t hand your vehicle off to someone you don’t have a healthy relationship with, why on Earth would anyone think that entrusting their child to such a person is a reasonable thing to do?

Why do some grandparents think that they are so entitled that they deserve what parents have said no to?

Grandparenting is a PRIVILEGE. NOT a RIGHT.

If you want a healthy, ongoing relationship with grandchildren, then establish and maintain one with their parents. It’s really that clear-cut.

Here’s the other thing:

IF these folks were to be successful, the far-reaching implications are massive.

You get a job offer across the country, or in another country. Well, that’s ESTRANGEMENT. That prevents folks from seeing their grandchildren as frequently as they are now, so, off to court you go.

What happens if you’re making parental decisions that grandparents don’t agree with? By granting grandparent visitation rights, it’s saying that these folks have a right to a say in the raising of the children, isn’t it? So, if the grandparents are against homeschooling, they could take you to court to argue against it, couldn’t they?

Frankly, any grandparent who is willing to put a family through a court battle, has, in my mind, proven why they are estranged. They’re willing to put the family through financial hardship, to take money out of the household, that is used to support and provide for the grandchildren, in an attempt to force parents to do what they want.

“Sorry kids, we can’t enroll you in sports/music lessons/take a vacation/buy you new clothes, because Grandma is making us go to court.”

How incredibly selfish.

And claiming abuse makes a mockery of those who have experienced actual abuse. It’s an attempt to legitimize legally forcing other adults to hand over their minor children, regardless of what they believe is in the best interest of their child.

I find it interesting that the focus is all on the grandchildren. These folks don’t talk about repairing a relationship with their own children, it’s all about, “HAND OVER MY GRANDCHILDREN!”

Funny, whenever I’ve read anything about child predators, one of the HUGE warning signs is someone who attempts to go around the parents to access the children.

Grandparent rights is nothing more than an attempt to control other adults, and force them into a relationship that they have deemed unhealthy, while having access to young, vulnerable children.

A child’s primary relationship is with their parents. Grandparent rights seeks to erode that, by granting grandparents the same access rights as non-custodial parents.

Imagine, if you will, a child whose parents are divorced.

The non custodial parent has the child every other weekend.

Grandparents demand visitation.

Grandparents get two weekends a month. Heck, even just one.

So, the child loses time with their custodial parent. Or, the other parent has to give up a weekend.

Is it REALLY in the child’s best interest to lose time with their *parents* so that the grandparents get what they believe they’re entitled to?

No.

What about what’s in the best interest of the child? How can anyone claim that visitation with grandparents is more important than the relationship with the child’s parents? What about infants, who are exclusively breast fed? Young children who have never been away from their parents? Should they be forced into a situation that seperates them from their parents, all to satisfy another adult’s selfish demands?

Indeed, there was already a case in the US, Troxel vs Granville, where the US Supreme Court said no.

These folks are attempting to get around the US Supreme Court, by claiming it’s abusive to be kept away from their grandchildren.

They’re wrong.

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Comments

Grandparent Rights? No! — 64 Comments

  1. *shakingmyhead* No, no, no. No way grandparents who don’t have custody/guardianship should have any rights whatsoever. Why don’t we have uncles and aunts in on it, too, while we’re at it? Just ridiculous.

      • Thank you SO MUCH for doing this. I read this online in the Huffington Post site. I’m being sued by my mentally ill mother and step father for grandparent rights to my 10 year old son. Everything you said is so on point and worded perfectly! I want to print this out, bring it, and read it!!! They’re horrible people and they just don’t stop.

    • The state I live in, they call it third party visitation. The statute allows for anyone who has a vested interest in someone’s child to sue for visitation. Certain criteria must be met. For example; siblings, half- siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, great-grandparents, or even caretakers can sue for visitation.

      • That’s insane. What about the rights of the parents to decide what is in their child’s best interest? Unless a parent is proven unfit, how can that possibly be justified?!

    • Aunts & Uncles are in it too. Even though we always call it Grandparent visitation, it technically falls under third-party visitation statute with grandparents being first in line. I’m sorry, but unless the parent is clearly unfit or a parent has died, no grandparent feelings , of missing their grandchildren, should NEVER come before a parent’s civil liberties. I have a friend whos dad disowned her because she married a man who is Mexican. My friend was very hurt that her children didn’t get to know their grandpa. Should parents now get to sue grandparents who don’t want to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives??? can a parent put that emotional & financial stress onto the grandparent? and MAKE them have MANDATORY visits with grandchildren even if they don’t want to????

      • sorry, I meant No grandparent feelings should EVER come before a parent’s civil liberties. You’re not really free if at anytime a third party can take you to court and possibly get mandatory visits with YOUR child.

  2. A broader problem I see with this concept is it undermines the concept of a legal adult. As you pointed out the “grandparent rights” would allow grandparents to dictate how their grown children live. There’s a reason those legal apron strings are cut at the age of eighteen.

  3. hmmmmm I have to say as in everything else in life every situation is its own. What about the grandparent that has the grandchild with them all the time until the parent does not get what. they want decides to take the child away until they need something else and bounces the child in and out of the grandparents lives. Is that really healthy for the child?? Just because i am mad at one person should i make everyone suffer??? Children should not be used for pawns but i see it all the time. ……

    • Anita, I consider situations where the grandparent has had custody to be a different situation. In that case, the grandparent should have already established guardianship, so that they could seek medical attention, etc as needed.

      In that case, they do not have a grandparent relationship, but a custodial one, and that makes a world of difference.

      Again, I don’t personally know of anyone that simply ‘gets mad’ at one person and cuts off the relationship. I know folks who have tried, time and again, for YEARS, and are unable to manage a healthy relationship, and choose estrangement, rather than continuing dysfunction and abuse. Obviously, that colours my perceptions.

      Still, I don’t agree with the eroding of parental rights, I just don’t. Someone else, other than a parent, being able to demand access through the courts is not a reasonable thing. Last I knew, step parents, who have raised the child for years, cannot legally pursue rights if the marriage ends.

      So, why should grandparents, who do NOT have a history of parenting the grandchildren, be able to do so?

      Interfering in parental rights, eroding the sanctity of the family, isn’t something to be done lightly, and certainly not because someone wants access to children that the parents do not believe is in the child’s best interest. Unless the parents are proven unfit, then their decisions for their children should stand.

      If there’s abuse/neglect, then children’s services needs to be involved.

        • Yes but in that case the step parent had a parent/child relationship with the child in question. Unless the grandparents legitimately had a parent/child relationship with the children in question, then they should not be able to petition for rights.

        • I think that depends on where you live, Anita. And I think that they should, since they have a parenting relationship with the child.

          Typically speaking, grandparents do not have a parenting relationship. Yes, I realize there are exceptions. To me, it makes a massive difference, if a grandparent has had custody/guardianship of the child, or not.

  4. Wow! That is crazy. What I don’t get is why not work on repairing or building a relationship with the parents of your grandchildren if you want to have a relationship with your grandchildren?

    • It seems as though, for some folks, once grandchildren come along, their own child ceases to matter, or at least, not as much.

      I’ve heard more than one grandparent say things like, “I never knew I could love anyone like I love my grandchild!” “I love my grandchildren more than I did my own kids!” “My grandchildren are my whole world!” which makes me wonder what the relationship w/their adult children is like, and how *they* (the AC) feel about that.

      I’m sure that grandchildren are a wonderful experience, and can be an incredible blessing. I just can’t imagine loving them *more* than I do my kids.

      • I also do not get this. If you push your adult children to the side constantly and only focus on the grandkids, you shouldn’t be surprised if your time with your grandchildren is limited.

        It also seems like being a grandparent has turned into a competitive sport. Who can post the most pics on Facebook,

        • I still believe it takes a village to raise a child. Adults act like adults and children like children and this would not be on the table at all. 🙂

          Oh and Amanda you can block pics if you dont want to see them. Me i love seeing my family and friends pics………..

          (oh in my experence there are three sides to every story party one, party two, and the truth)

          • Anita, the problem is, not everyone is able to have functional relationships. It’s better to have no relationship, imo, than a negative, toxic one.

            If folks were able to treat each other with respect, to maintain healthy boundaries, then yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, too often, that doesn’t happen, but ppl expect it to be accepted, tolerated, b/c they’re family.

            Family should treat you BETTER than the average person on the street, not worse.

            As I said, if you can’t have a healthy relationship btwn adults, how is that a good environment for children?

          • And to add…

            Not everyone’s ‘village’ is related family. Friends can, and for many, do, become family, far beyond the one born into.

          • Okay, now you’re putting words in my mouth. I never said I don’t enjoy pictures. I come across far too many grandparents who gripe because all their grandparent friends can share pictures, why can’t they? If the parents are okay with the GP sharing pictures of their child on social media, more power to them. However if the parents are not okay with that it should be understood and respected. Not challenged or disrespected. The focus should be on the grandchildren and making their life better, not the grandparent getting their dream “grandparent experience”.

    • Agree. I think that grandparent visitation belongs in a counselor office not in a court room. I think that all statutes should make it mandatory for the person petitioning for visitation to clearly prove the harm to the child if they DON’T get visitation.

      • I’d even disagree, to a point. I don’t think that someone should be able to demand parents go to therapy to defend their choices either.

        That’s the issue w/mediation: there’s no obligation for the parents to compromise. Normally when folks go to mediation, both sides want something, but have an inability to reach an agreement. In the cases of parents choosing not to have a relationship w/their parents, what is it that the grandparents bring to the table that the parents would want to negotiate about? They’ve already decided that a relationship isn’t in their child’s best interest, so it doesn’t seem to me that there’s anything to negotiate, more like a hope that a mediator would side against the parents and pressure them to allow grandparents access.

  5. I know of situations where couples divorced and the grandparents got involved not because there was real abuse going on but because they were trying to destroy their child’s ex-spouse. It is just nasty and not right.

    • Completely agree.

      Grandparent access should be through their adult child. When one parent has the kids, then their parents can have visits (assuming their AC wants them to, of course).

  6. I’m curious as to what prompted your article on grandparent visitation? This issue is rarely brought into the spotlight unless your a victim of the law, know a victim of the law, or a grandparent who has filed a petition for court ordered visitation.

    Obviously you’ve done some research on the issue and have a moderate grasp on how litigation has negative and lasting affectson fit parents and their children.

      • Well God Bless you for looking into it!
        Your article was very well written.

        Most people don’t have a clue what grandparent visitation is until they’re served with a subpoena.

        Maybe a grandparent considering litigation will read what you wrote and decide against it?

        • Unfortunately, I think those that are willing to sue for visitation are too consumed with what they want to see anything else. My hope, is that perhaps people will become more aware, and if there’s ever any legislation attempted, people will protest against it.

  7. Thank you for your post. After my husband unexpectedly passed away last year at the age of 43 my in-laws have decided to take me to court for grandparent visitation. My husband, my children and I were estranged from his parents prior to his passing. My children did not even recognize them at his funeral.

    My in-laws are using the court system as a form of control and punishment. Since last October they have postponed the hearing multiple times and used other tactics trying to force me to give in. I have been a stay at home mother all of my children’s lives, and my husband was our sole provider. I have spent over $30,000.00 so far trying to fight this without even having a hearing yet.

    I am the total opposite of an unfit parent. I have been a stay at home mother all of their lives, and my husband and I were married until his death. We both made the choice of ending contact with his parents after multiple years of conflict with them.

    How can a judicial system allow this abuse to a fit parent who just lost their spouse and is trying to honor their husband’s wishes? How can it be fair to children to force visitation with people who their parents cannot trust? How can I protect them from toxic people that my husband and I cut off contact with? My children lost their father and now these people are trying to separate them from their only remaining parent as much as a divorce would? They want my children as much as my husband would have had if we had divorced.

    • I’m so sorry.

      It makes no sense to me that, when your husband was alive, he refused contact w/them, and now they’re using his death to try and force you into this. I sincerely hope that you counter with a demand for them to pay all legal costs, and that the court finds against them.

      Did he say anything in his will about this?

  8. Thank you.

    My husband did not have a will. This was totally unexpected and he was in perfect help so we thought. It was something we just never got around too being so young. From what I have been told it would not have mattered anyhow. All they have to do in order to be granted a hearing is claim they “believe” my children are being emotionally or physically harmed by me denying them visitation and also my husband had to be 1. Dead 2. In jail or 3. Physically unable to give them visitation (like in a coma or something).

    My attorney asked the judge to dismiss their request for a hearing, but she didn’t. My in-laws lied in their affidavit they filed when requesting a hearing, and we have to have a hearing to prove that. They claimed I am going against my husband’s wishes and I tried to extort money from them in order to see the grandkids. Total lies. I think they keep postponing the hearing in hopes that I give up, because once we have the hearing the truth will come out.

  9. We actually were just threatened to be sued for visitation rights to our child recently.

    We consulted a lawyer and while they can file as much as they want to, they will not win. They would file anyways out of spite.

    You’re absolutely right that people don’t just go no contact for no reason. It was years worth of things; stealing money from my partner, stealing his deceased father’s things, stealing money from others to buy presents for our child-we had no idea at the time, lying, manipulation, smear compaigns, trying to ruin our relationship, and it was exhausting. They have diagnosed mental illness they refuse to get treatment for and drug addiction. Our child is very young and does not remember them, thankfully. Straight up narcissists. They don’t care anything about us and have said as much, they just want our child. He’s not a doll to pass around, nor a Bandaide.

    • I’m so sorry. It never ceases to amaze me that people feel so entitled to someone else’s child as to do this.

      I always wonder why they don’t care enough about THEIR adult child to try and mend THAT relationship, rather than simply attempt to wrest a minor from the grasp of their parent.

    • Sandra, if your interested in joining a support group dedicated to fighting grandparent visitation in all 50 states, go to Facebook and search Coalition for the Restoration of Parental Rights. (CRPR) for short.

  10. Grandparents like me who are of sound mind certainly DO have rights to “grandparenting time” with our grandchildren. If we had not birthed the parent, the parent would not be here to birth the child. If the parent dies or is unfit, its the grandparent’s JOB to raise the grandchildren.

    So, YES, those of us of sound mind are “entititled” to be in the lives of our grandchildren.

    And, what about children’s rights??? Many cases of estrangement are due to a vindictive wife or husband who hates their in-laws. The children have nothing to do with it and it is neglectful for parents to deprive their children of the love, financial assistance, bonding, and experiences they could receive from willing and able grandparents.

    Those children grow up with a void. They may grow up and become resentful of the parents who kept them away from their grandparents. And, rightfully so.

    If there is discontent among the adults, but there is no abuse of the children, there is no logical reason to keep grandchildren and grandchildren separated.

    • Legally? I guess that depends on where you live. Most commonly, grandparents only have rights if there is a divorce or death.

      And if BOTH parents die, most folks have guardianship in their wills for minor children. Grandparents are not always the first choice.

      And no, I don’t for one red hot minute believe that anyone is entitled to time w/someone else’s child.

      Realistically speaking, it wasn’t that many generations ago that grandparents weren’t around as children were growing up, due to shortened life expectancies. The idea that a child NEEDS a grandparent to be healthy and whole simply isn’t true.

      If someone can’t manage a relationship w/the adults, why would they trust their child to them? That just doesn’t make sense.

      And to add, if it wasn’t for the parents, you wouldn’t be a grandparent, so how does it make any sense at all to go around the parent, to the child?

    • I’d like to give you some advice, GRANDmother.

      If you think that waging a lawsuit against a fit parent to gain access to a child is in the best interest of the child, you are wildly mistaken. You are harming that child in more ways than you can imagine. The best option is to reconcile whatever conflict you have with the parent. If the parent is forced to defend their parental rights in court, you will be responsible for disrupting the child’s security both emotionally and financially. You will become the enemy.

      And no, grandparents are not entitled to have contact with their grandchildren.

    • GRANDmother, Because you birthed the parent, the parent birthed the grandchild, therefore this entitles you to visitation rights? Really? That’s not only illogical, but it violates The 14th Amendment. If a parent dies doesn’t give you the right to raise that child over the objection of the living parent. I’m certain that if someone took you to court to gain access to your children over your objection, you’d fight it tooth and nail.

      Vindictive parents? You want to drag a child into an adult conflict. Now that’s vindictive! You really think a lawsuit is going to resolve the problem?

      There’s usually a good reason a fit parent denies a grandparent access to their child. Most often it’s due to the grandparent taking sides during a divorce or the grandparent attempts to control a parent after the death of a spouse.

  11. Imp, I finally followed your siggy link over here. Beautifully written blog post and you are absolutely correct. Although my children are only tweens, I am old enough to be a grandmother, and many of my friends are grandparents. What I commonly see is how loving and respectful they are towards their adult children. They treat their ACs like the adults and peers that they are. So of course they are welcomed into the lives of the grandchildren. If I ever do have grandkids, I would hope that I follow that example.

    • Thank you!

      Honestly, it boils down to respect vs entitlement, imo. Respect for the AC, the CIL as adults, married couple, and parents. Respect for the fact that grandparents aren’t on the same ‘ranking’ if you will, as parents.

      Respect that grandparents are a ‘guest’ in the home, not a resident. Not a second/third parent.

      If folks approach things that way, then the chances of them being in a position of not having a relationship w/their AC/CIL is greatly minimized, and the relationship w/the gc will follow.

      If you can’t be trusted to treat adults with respect, why would children be treated any better? If you were/are abusive to your own child/adult child, why would you treat someone else’s child better?

  12. I just stumbled onto this article. I am a 45 year old widow, my husband passed away almost 4 years ago from a 15 month cancer battle at the age of 44. My children were 7 & 10 when they needed to attend his funeral. During my late husband’s illness, which turned terminal, he limited interaction with his mother (his father predeceased him by 8 years), sisters and their families. They became unbearable to him, his conclusion not anyone elses, while he was trying to focus on surviving for his wife and children. I became the spouse that needed and was asked to stand behind, beside and eventually in front of my dying husband – focusing on his needs and wants. BY no means was this a comfort zone for me nor one that I fully agreed with but kept my own emotions and opinions to myself – I wasn’t the one fighting the physical battle but was fighting it on all other levels with my husband of 12 years. The extended family attended his funeral, albeit not 100% comfortable for any parties but no nastiness ensued at such a sad event in all our lives. They were all involved more with my children in the month after his death – at my urging – than the month before. During his illness a target was placed on me; after his death the target grew and became more vicious for an unknown reason. My MIL received the silver plated gift of my late husbands employer unable to find his latest submitted life insurance beneficiary form (from July 2001) naming me his beneficiary along with the witnesses coming forward shortly after finding this out. The form used was one reverting back to 7 years even before I even met my late husband. 50% to his deceased father and 50% going to his mom; because my FIL had passed away 100% went to my MIL. After a lot of personal involvement by myself and close family friends I had to resort to filing a federal law suit because of the clerical error and she held the funds not the employer any more. This was because she wouldn’t hand over close to 1/2 million dollars for my immediate family to be financially stable in the days, months and years after my husbands death. This brought about a severe cutting off of a limb of the family tree. I have been accused of smothering and being abusive to my children (for the in-laws lack of involvement in our lives or specifically the children’s lives). I have only been trying to protect them and shielding them from such severe disrespect and behavior towards me and therefore them and my late husband. I have been accused of initiating Grandparent Abuse and Alienation. The life insurance lawsuit is over now for months – the judge 5 states away and where my in-laws live – allowed my MIL to keep the money because on the piece of paper it simply stated her name. Never once was she deposed or filed any transparent/forthcoming statements. The extended family is attacking via text, email, voicemails and on Facebook. Have I retaliated a bit – yes; I am human. But all I have ever done is to consistently state and reiterate the facts and the timeline. My in-laws are “baffled” by why they aren’t allowed to be the “loving and supportive” family they say they are and why I have shunned them. I feel that their behavior is unsettling and do not want nor do my children deserve to have the instability of such individuals, blood or not, around them. We have such a huge support system and for that we are truly blessed. As for my husband’s wishes being thrown aside by his own mother, to use the funds he worked for and set aside for “that rainy day” against his wife in court is another reason that should not bring about a head scratching moment or two for my in-laws. My in-laws have dwindled the said funds by a substantial amount and blame me for making them do it. There were countless times they could have done the right – moral and ethical – thing but chose over and over to defend their choice that was made 3 short weeks after my husband, their only son and brother, passed away based on projected scenarios. One sister-in-law has named my children publicly on FB when I never do for their rights to be respected and safety; she has made her story their story which is not an accurate depiction of the life my children have with me (or my late husband). I have received emails and texts saying that the truth will be revealed to my children and that all I ever do is lie to my children – they don’t have intimate knowledge of any aspect of my relationship so that can not be stated as truth. I never have lied to my children; have only stated the facts if they have asked. It’s basic – clerical error and the person receiving the funds kept them. My children live the truth with me every single day. I have on retainer a family attorney for the past 3.5 years as my in-laws had an attorney in the state that my children and I are domiciled. Our state has a high threshold for grandparents to meet showing that lack of connection or communication is harmful to my children’s lives if she should ever push forward on legal proceedings.Sorry for length of my reply to what I feel is an excellent blog on an issue that seems to be selfishly driven by matriarchs/patriarchs of families.

    • I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, and for the additional strain and insult regarding the life insurance policy.

      I wish you and your children the very best <3

    • Sorry for your loss and the circumstances you find yourself in. Look up the Coalition for the Restoration of Parental Rights (CRPR) on Facebook. It’s a support group for fit parents being sued for grandparent visitation.

  13. I just stumbled on your blog post about grandparents not being entitled to see their grandchildren. It sickened me. You have completely generalized a scenario. While I agree that in so many cases the parents should make the decision as to whether or not their children should see their grandparents, it is not always so cut and dry. The grandparents aren’t always, crazy, selfish or demented.

    To make a very long story short, I am the mother of an only child. My daughter and I had always been close. I am not a wealthy person by any means but gave her everything I could and more. She had her first child in her last year of college. She wasn’t married. My husband and I supported her through everything. She lived two hours away from us and we drove like crazy people back and forth for almost 10 months to help with babysitting while she worked crazy hours as a nurse and continued her education. Then she met guy number two and dropped guy number one. My husband I again supported her even though we were very fond of guy number one. My daughter and her happiness always came first. She dropped us like a hot potato for guy number 2’s family. They lived near her so she didn’t have to worry so much about babysitting. No more driving and running. Guy number 2’s family became the greatest thing since sliced bread and she pretty much dumped me and my husband. She married guy #2 and I had to put up with her new mother-in-law constantly throwing in my face how close she was with my daughter and grandson and blah, blah, blah. Yep, I was jealous. You bet. My daughter got pregnant again. During her 4th month the baby was diagnosed with a problem and my daughter and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy. The husband’s parents went (good Catholics that they are) went nuts. They tormented my daughter endlessly over her decision and made her miserable. Of course they blamed her because their son would never have made that decision. Mind you my daughter was raised as a Catholic also. So my daughter ran back to her safe haven – her parents. And once again we were there for her and also for her husband. They didn’t speak to the husband’s parent for 3 years. In that time my daughter and her husband had a healthy little girl. Since the time that baby was a month old and my daughter went back to work, my husband and I drove 2 hours every week to bring both of the children back to my home to babysit. I was the one who got up in the middle of the night with the baby 3 or 4 nights a week and had to work the next day. My husband spent his retirement years caring for two small children. As nurses, my daughter and her husband’s schedules were both crazy. This went on until my granddaughter turned 3. Then my daughter decided she wanted to move to my area. She wanted to move in with me until her house sold. Of course, mom and dad said yes. My husband took our garage and turned it into an apartment for them to the tune of $25,000 that was pretty much what we had in the bank. So do you think I’m stupid? Or maybe a little demented? How about just crazy about my family and so grateful and happy to have them in my life. So my daughter and her husband both got jobs here but were having trouble selling their house. They also began to disrespect and take advantage of some of the “rules” we had for the house. All we asked is that they cleaned up after their dog when it pooped and not 3 days later, that they didn’t leave the dryer on at night (the washer and dryer were in my house) and that our son-in-law would help my husband out with some outside chores like trash. I know, we were overbearing. This is probably why they moved out. My daughter didn’t like the area. She wanted to move back to her house. Magically they mended the relationship with her husband’s parents and somehow in their minds, made us into the bad guys. This happened last year and my head is still spinning. I have know idea what I did to deserve her disdain. She hasn’t let us see the kids. We practically raised them. I have no problem with her wanting to leave and move on with her life. I was happy for her. She got a fabulous job and was going to make a lot more money. She has justified her behavior by attributing it to my being angry that she moved. Not the case. I’m angry because she turned on me and wouldn’t let me see or talk to the kids. My life has been hell for a year. For the first six months I laid in bed, cried, ate kettle chips and yogurt bars and gained 10lbs. She has told me she hated me, she threatened me with a restraining order, she stopped paying on the student loans I co-signed her and thereby ruined my good credit. Shall I continue? There’s a whole lot more. So finally I stopped crying and took $3500.00 out of the $10,000 I had left in my account and got a lawyer. Boy did I get screwed. He was a shyster and lied to me about my rights and what I could expect. My daughter and I ended up with an agreement we made into a court order but she is constantly in contempt of it. I’ve seen my grandchildren 3 times in the last year. No sleepovers. I have to drive 2 hours to see them for a couple of hours in a restaurant or do to an activity. And although I do have 2 sleepovers a year as part of our agreement, my grandson (almost 7) now tells me that he doesn’t want to stay at my house because he likes his own bed. He has also told me that his mom told me I filed papers because I want to take him far away. I think he is afraid I will take him away from his parents. To my credit (as difficult as it is) I say nothing but nice things about his parents and try to make things as normal as possible when I see them or talk to them on the phone. My daughter is doing quite the opposite. My little granddaughter just walks around saying “you made my mommy cry and Pop Pop made my daddy cry.” I have no recourse. I learned the hard way that court is useless when you have a daughter who is dead set on destroying a relationship. I can pay more money for a lawyer and have her held in contempt for the missed calls and visits but for what? As soon as we leave she will continue to do the same things. She is making them think that I am not interested in seeing them. It’s awful. No one can know how I feel unless you have walked in my shoes. I was young once and had a mother-in-law that I despised. I was high and mighty and felt I was protecting my daughter from being around her because she was an alcoholic. Looking back, I still feel I was justified but to a certain extent. I took something away from my ex-mother-in-law that she can never get back. May she rest in peace. Karma is a bitch. So maybe now you can see why I take exception to your blog post. There are more grandparents out there like me. I haven’t even told you half of the story. Did I make mistakes? Sure I did. Did my husband? Of course he did. But, I can assure you these are the same mistakes any loving and caring parent makes with their children in an effort to protect – not in an effort to hurt. Should we be punished so severely for this? No. We bonded with those children and they became an integral part of our lives. We were a family and my daughter broke it. It was all fine and good until it didn’t suit her anymore. I have had to unfortunately admit that she is a narcissist and/or sociopath and/or has many of those behaviors. As her mother, this kills me. I never saw it coming. Maybe because I didn’t want to. I’m no longer needed in her life. No longer needed as a caregiver or a bank or a friend or confidant. She no longer feels that she needs to listen to me even if it’s just out of respect. She wasn’t raised like that but somehow she has become the queen of entitlement and selfishness. If it doesn’t suit her, she has no time or feeling for it. She doesn’t want to hear it from anyone and has stopped talking to my sister, my niece and my parents. She will not allow the children to even speak to their great-grandparents. Now you tell me, who has the problem here? And, in your heart, if you even feel that I might be an exception to the rule you wrote about, please believe that there are others out there like me. And without malice or anger, I say to you that you owe us all a re-write and an apology. Blessings, Dana

    • Dana, as much as I’m sorry that you’ve gone through what you have, (and I am, I understand you are in pain, and I’m sorry for that) I do not believe that grandparents should have the ability to take away parental rights.

      That’s the reality of GPR. In order to hand rights to grandparents, you must take away rights from parents. And that’s not something that I can agree with. I genuinely cannot think of another situation in society that it’s a consideration to take rights away from one group, to bestow them upon another.

      Just a quick look: women’s right to vote didn’t take men’s rights away. Getting rid of segregation didn’t take rights away from anyone, they brought everyone to equal rights. Gay marriage, same thing, didn’t take anything away from anyone, simply agreed that everyone has the same rights.

      GPR doesn’t do that.

      Yes, I understand that there are grandparents who are loving, positive, and a blessing in a child’s life. Absolutely. Still, I cannot agree that grandparents should be allowed to override parental authority.

      If a child is in danger, at risk, that’s a completely different scenario, and CPS, etc exists for those tragic situations.

      And, ftr, you made the right decision about your MIL. You didn’t take anything away from her, being an alcohlic did. Active addicts are not safe people, and children should not be exposed to them, and taught that they’re trusted adults. A child’s safety, physical and emotional, trumps all, imo.

      I wish you well, but I do not believe that grandparents have a right to a relationship, and to override parental authority. Troxel v. Granville, was decided by the US Supreme Court, saying that when both parents are in agreement, that it should not be usurped, and I agree with that.

  14. Do you live with someone who has mental illness. Do you live with someone that is drug dealer and has a two page rap sheet?

    When you have a grandchild for 73% in one year I think it is more than just not getting along with a parent. CPS is a joke. Unless the child is near death, they step in. So no food, filthy house and the biological parent is there but pays no attention to the child is not enough to take the child out of the home.

    We are the rock, major support of our grandson of 2 years and 8 months old.

    We and many others, daycare, friends of the biological parents reported to CPS these biological parents about the neglect, and guess what I was told? I had to let the child go without food, diapers, live in a filthy place with all kinds of people coming in and out the home. I had to let the child fall before they did anything.

    Makes you wonder how many of the falling children were supported by loving third parties if they would end up in gangs, jail or dead.

    Every situation is different.

    We are 48 years old, youngest child is 22 almost finishing college and our middle daughter passed away. We were ready to live our golden years but like we stated on numerous occasions, this child didn’t ask to come in this world but he deserves a chance. We are willing to give up our golden years to give this child a chance.

    The father, the real name, the sperm donor, is nothing but a junkie and sells crack but what you are saying is this 2 year old child should go back to him.

    To generalize that all grandparents are this way is totally ridiculous and the hate that you are spreading is uncalled for.

    What you should be spreading is what is best for the child to grow up to be a successful, happy and loving human being.

    Dana – good for you for your post.

    What should be promoted is what is best for the child.

    • Jennifer, my post was dealing with *estrangement*. Not child abuse.

      Which was my point.

      If a parent is unfit, that’s a whole different kettle of fish than parents who *are* fit (I believe I said this in the article) deciding that a relationship w/the grandparents isn’t in the child’s best interest.

      What you are talking about isn’t estrangement, there’s a child at genuine risk.

      A child in a functioning, healthy home *isn’t* at risk, *isn’t* being abused, simply b/c there’s no relationship w/the grandparents…which is what some of these groups are asserting. That not having a relationship w/the grandparent is both elder and child abuse.

      That, I object to.

      I object to fit parents having their rights eroded, in favour of a non parent.

      A child who is at risk, who is being abused (which includes neglect) is a completely different scenario.

    • Your situation is different.. The relationship you have is a custodial one. GP rights don’t apply in your case because the parents aren’t capable.

  15. Wow! This post sounds just like what we are going through. My mother is a narcissist and we have never had a good relationship. I hardly ever lived at home and stayed away from her as much as I could my whole life. However, I always felt bad for her and kept giving her chances. I was an idiot. Now I have a family of my own and she has become worse. She wants my life and has even tried to have a baby in her fifties with her newly husband, who eventually realized her abusive ways and left her. Then she tried to take my husband and I to court for visitation rights; claiming that we were keeping the kids away from her but we weren’t. She just made it up to cause problems and I’m guessing to hurt me. My family made her back out and not show up for the court date but it still cost us money. Then she even tried to adapt a baby or a young child and thank goodness it never happened. Now we have been living in a different state for about 3 years and all has been O.K barely. We recently announced to our family the we are expecting another baby. I thought she would be happy but instead she flipped and cursed me out because I didn’t tell her as soon as we new. Since then she has been harassing me, calling me names, putting us down and threatening to take us to court again. This time she said she won’t back down. I keep telling her that I’m a high risk pregnancy and that I can’t deal with this stress so please stop harassing us but she doesn’t care. We don’t keep the kids from her. They call and FaceTime her. Any suggestions or thoughts on this? We don’t think she can do anything because we live in a different state but you never know.

  16. I have read all of these comments on how grandparents have no rights and I get it. I get that a lot of people are estraged from thier children and when their adult children have children the estrangement will be past down to the next generation.This is how it is. You can’t stop it. It’s a learned behavior and taught from generation to generation. If the parents don’t want a reconciliation then the grandparents needs to take the high road and move on and not take it personal. People estrange for all sorts of reasons,trying to do a bunch of court stuff aganist the parent will only be a no win situation for everyone involved. It is exhausting to raise children and just because you are a grandparent and your adult has reasons you can’t be involved then honor their decision and bless the situation.You can’t control another person’s decision. I am estraged from my 24 year old daughter and have been for years off and on. My grandchild is now 2 and I have never seen him. It’s sad, I have reached out many times and all I get is if you give me money then I can see him. The answer is No. My daughter is a drug addict and an alcoholic and so is the boyfriend.I don’t think she is a good parent. This is how I deal with it. It’s not my baby it’s a sad situation for my family. I understand under no circumstances will I play ping pong with my adult child. I am the elder and if she does not want me in her life or my grandchilds.That is the way it is for now, because I have a life and I am not going to let it destroy me. If the child ever seeks me out fine. I will be loving and kind and if he asks what happened I will say it’s up to your parents to say and that I’m glad you found me, would you like to get to know one another? People are not objects you can’t buy them. No court has ever fixed a relationship, children grown up and when they do the cycle of estrangement will repeat.I send out loving kindness to my daughter and respect her estrangement and I get busy living and being thankful, because life is to short to battle against.I practice self care and mine my own business. I will always miss my daughter, but life goes on. I came across this blog, because I wanted to research if other grandparents were estraged. I just didn’t realize just how bitter people get locked into a tug a war.
    I’m glad I can honestly say I’m not one of those grandparents.I hope my grandson and my daughter are doing well. Who knows maybe one day I’ll see her and my grandchild and I will give them a hug. ❤

  17. The issue is that while most parents are living and good to their children, some are not. Grandparents rights are only granted if it is in the best interest of the child. Growing up, grandparents rights weren’t a thing that existed, and so my brother and I were forced to live with our mother who physically and mentally abused us, while my grandmother could do nothing to get us to a safe place until we were 18 years old.
    I’m not saying that these rights aren’t going to be misused by some, but I am saying that there are many children who will benefit from these laws, and hopefully not have to go through what I did as a child.
    All in all, I personally believe that a healthy child should have a healthy relationship with their entire family, whenever possible. And since most grandparents laws require that it be in the child’s best interest for custody or visitation to occur, it is definitely something that I believe is more positive than negative.

  18. Best Interest?? Not always. If your State has a State statute, then it’s pretty much guaranteed that whoever files a complaint against the single or re-married parent for third-party visitation WILL get it. State statutes have nothing to do with the “best interests” of the child.

    I was sued by my deceased husband’s adult daughter from his first marriage (I was wife #3) for visitation with our child after he died. Our child was almost 5 at the time of his death. When our child was born, his daughter was 18 and only lived with us for a month after our baby was born, but was never around and took no part in our infant’s care. She really had no interest in being part of our family. When we moved out of state a month after our child was born, his adult daughter had no interest in moving with us.

    Fast forward 2 years later, after lovingly caring for him during his illness, my husband tried to strangle me in front of our toddler. He then abandoned us, and I called the police, filed for a DVO, and even considered going to a shelter for abused women. Instead I took my child and left for a while and stayed with a relative. He destroyed our marriage and my trust, so it was painfully clear I had to divorce him. I wasn’t going to give him a chance to finish the job.

    Fast forward 2 years later, we were in the divorce process (I’ll spare you the details), I’m the custodial parent, and he’s fighting with me over everything, trying to get me to pay his bills (his lawyer’s maneuver), etc. He was mad over the DVO, which prevented him from getting custody. He died suddenly and unexpectedly. But during the separation, his adult daughter occasionally saw my child during his visitation. I must emphasize I have always been a fit parent. His adult daughter was never responsible for my child in any way, not even to babysit.

    Yet in court she claimed to be “just like my dad”, lied abut everything, and tried to get the court to award her his visitation schedule!!!! They used a State Supreme Court case which had no bearing to my case as their supporting case. And because the State statute has the word “shall” in it, she won. A non-parent who had never had my child in her care, won against a fit widowed parent. Why? Because she could NOT get custody (though she tried) and because she claimed to have a relationship with my child. That’s it. There are more details which I will be more than happy to share with you if you are interested.

    To other points made in earlier posts, IF the parents are not fit, as some grandparents here are claiming, and children are actually at risk, then it is NO LONGER A VISITATION ISSUE, it is a child custody issue and this is clearly not the forum for you. It must be made very clear to you that third party visitation and custody are 2 very different legal situations. So stop wasting your time on anti-third party visitation sites involving fit parents, and spend your time gathering evidence and documentation, present it to the police and child welfare agencies. If parents are abusive or mentally sick, then provide the correct agencies with documented proof to gain custody. Otherwise, respect the decisions of FIT parents, married or single. If you have problems with your adult children, fix that first, don’t go after their kids and drag the family through court. You will do irreparable damage to everyone. I know of many cases of visitation against the will of fit parents. Contrary to an earlier post, I know that third party visitation rarely if ever is in the best interests of the child. Your best course of action is to make amends, ingratiate yourself, and RESPECT the decisions of the fit parents!

    • I’m so sorry for your experience, both with domestic violence, and then with court. It’s insane to me that your step daughter could be awarded anything!

  19. What about instances where the parent is bipolar and refuses to take her medication? Legally, she is still perfectly “fit;” however, she is prone to outrageous fits and has always had a strained relationship with her mother when things didn’t go her way. This is the situation my friend at work is experiencing and it’s heartbreaking. The child’s mother, while legally sane and safe, has zero qualms about using the child as punishment or as a bribe to get what she wants.

    My friend has been involved in the grandchild’s life since birth; but always in a tit for tat type way. She’d be allowed to take him for the weekend IF she’d pick him up every day after school because the mom couldn’t. She’d be allowed to let him sleep over IF she gave her daughter money for her car payment. Anytime there was a disagreement, the daughter would constantly threaten to take the child away (and did for short periods of time, at least until she needed something from her mother).

    This poor grandmother, who has been in the child’s life in a major role (she probably had him an average of 1 night a week)since birth (child is now 10) is being threatened to never be allowed to see her grandson again simply because the daughter doesn’t like her mom’s husband (they’ve been together over 13 years now) and she won’t get divorced from him. Mind you, this man has also been involved in the grandson’s life and the boy loves coming over to see them. He’s a good person, helps the community, there is nothing dangerous or malicious about him. In fact, this woman’s other adult child has asked him to adopt her legally! So clearly he’s not an awful person. But they’ve never gotten along well, because when the daughter gets angry at her mother she calls her offensive names and the grandfather will step in and tell her that if she’s going to disrespect his wife in his house, then she needs to leave.

    Clearly, this woman is just spiteful, and doesn’t have the best interests of the child in mind at all. What she does is nothing more than extortion. That’s not quality parenting, even if it is legal. But shouldn’t someone step in at this point and say “what’s best for the child?” By and large, parents DO know what is in their child’s best interest. But just as when a mother uses her children as bait, punishment, or intentionally turns them against her ex, that is NOT in the child’s best interest and the court needs to step in, sometimes so do the courts. Taking a child away from an enriching, safe, loving situation is never in the child’s best interest. These grandparents have paid for his clothing, his swimming lessons, his extra everything. These are not bad grandparents. These are loving grandparents that just don’t always bend to the whim of a bipolar parent who acts like a spoiled child herself when she doesn’t get her way, regardless of any damage SHE might be causing on the child as a result.

    I’m a mother. I am divorced and am lucky enough that my ex-husband’s parents live out of state and have never even met my kids because they are addicts and have a very violent, volatile marriage. But as a parent, it is our responsibility to ensure that the decisions we make about who can and can’t be around the child are in the best interests of that child. I absolutely agree that in cases where the grandparent is unstable, an addict, or unsafe (mentally or physically) then the parent has the obligation to step in and protect their child from this person, and no law should be able to supercede that. But when the PARENT of the child is the one that is unstable, then the courts DO need to step in in order to protect the child. The child shouldn’t have to suffer simply because Grandma won’t pay Mommy’s house payment.

    • I agree that a child should not be used as a blackmail tool.

      Here’s the problem I see though: you describe the mother as being legally sane and safe. The courts are there to enforce laws…not morals or principles. If someone is safe and sane, then they are deemed able to make their own choices, and not have rights taken from them and given to another. Which is what GPR is. Taking parental rights from a parent, and giving them to a grandparent.

      And, let’s be honest, if the mother is already playing games with the child as a lure, she will ABSOLUTELY use grandmother going to court for access as a weapon as well. And visitation, if won.

      This poor kid is in a bad situatiion. Hopefully the mom gets the mental health care she needs, and is able to parent from a healthier place.

  20. Thanks Imp!

    Again, grandparents posting here are missing the point. The original post is about opposition to third-party (grandparent) visitation against the wishes of FIT parents, regardless of marital status, not unfit parents with mental problems or addiction problems. As a fit parent, I’m always offended by their inability to make this fundamental distinction. But it’s also pertinent to point out that not one grandparent or pro-grandparent “rights” poster has ever offered any coherent reason why visitation should be granted against the wishes of FIT parents to a noncustodial person. (Hint: That’s because there is none.)

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