When I was faced with the awfulness of not being able to be part of our granddaughters’ life, in my naivety I thought this only happened when a son or daughter separated and consequently divorced.
As I started receiving calls from estranged grandparents it became clear that there were many variants involved.
You would also think separation is the main cause almost every time you read a newspaper article, or hear the subject being discussed on radio and TV, if the media are to be believed. ( Not that I do believe the media.)
Now I am 12 years on, I now know that yes separation/divorce is of course one reason but it can be your own blood relative, it can be as a result of drug/alcohol dependancy within the home, domestic abuse, or bereavement, that you find yourself estranged and alienated.
I don’t normally do statistics, as for me it is all about the individual person who is paramount, but over the last few weeks I have been collating the most recent information I have and I ran two polls on Facebook.
I am sure for some of you the results will be surprising,
The amount of daughters denying contact is 35.62%
The amount of sons 31.51%
The amount of Daughter-in-laws 23.29%
The amount of Son-in-laws 9.59%
Of course there will be many different variables but this shows clearly that it is your own children who make the decision to estrange themselves.
Now of course the question is why?
We have no way of knowing the answer, and as the majority of the perpetrators refuse to have any communication and have a grown up discussion about it, we can only make assumptions.
Of course the ‘who is doing what’ is interesting, but the most important thing here is that it is always going to be the children who are the most affected people. It is the children who are missing out on that wonderful relationship between themselves and grandparents.
Your adult children may well have a difference of opinion from you in many things, you may not have had a very good relationship previously, you may have given them money to help them out, but your finances are so diminished that you are unable to help them anymore, you may in the past suffered with your mental health and that is held against you.
Those are just a few of the reasons I hear.
None are insurmountable.
Let’s look at them one by one.
So you may have passed a comment on their parenting skills, in my view always a, no-no, but there is no reason at all why the parent can’t talk to you about it. Let’s face it, we have done the parenting thing we don’t want to do it again. Our children have to make the same mistakes as we did.
Our role is to support not to interfere.
It is possible that your relationship has always been difficult, but it should not prevent you from having a relationship with your grandchildren.
Money, as we know it is the root of all evil. Most parents will help their children financially if they can, and it is happening more and more. None of us have a bottomless pit, sooner or later our reserves run out. Often when your children are told there is no more left they decide to cut us out of their lives. Again, a discussion early on about how much you are willing to help should be had, you need money to live as well.
The issue with Mental Health issues is vast. It comes up again and again.
When you consider 1 in 4 of us will suffer with our Mental Health at some time, no-one is exempt. Grandparents who have suffered this way are often treated as though they are weak, that somehow they are not safe to be around grandchildren. Just writing this makes me so angry.
When did it happen that families lost the ability to care about other family members?
When did adult children become so selfish?
It is more than likely that all of these adult children will face struggles with their own Mental Health problems at some time in their lives, not something I would wish on anyone.
Will that be the time when someone says, they might be a danger to their own children?
I hope it will make them realise what their parent had been going through during that time, that they feel empathy.
The total lack of compassion is frightening.