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Grandparents who are Denied Access to Grandchildren

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 10 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Access To Grandchildren Family Counselor

While grandparents who are denied access to their grandchildren by the children's parents must certainly feel hurt and angry the fact remains that legally, grandparents are not automatically guaranteed any rights to their grandchildren.

There are a number of things that grandparents can do to best assure that they will be allowed to develop relationships with their grandkids, but in all but the most serious of circumstances, parents have the right to decide which people can and which cannot spend time with their children.

Healing Rifts

If at all possible, grandparents who are being denied access to their grandchildren should make an effort to mend any hard feelings that exist between them and their grown children. In most cases, parents keep their kids away from their own parents due to unresolved conflicts that exist between the adults. Sometimes, what starts as a minor misunderstanding grows into an argument serious enough to cause discord amongst family members. While both sides may choose to stubbornly hold onto the idea that they are "right," by doing so, everyone loses out on the love and support that happy families provide for one another. There comes a point when being right becomes less important than getting along, and grandchildren are as good a reason as any to make the decision to put aside past hurts and focus on a brighter future.

Grandparents can contact their grown children and express their desire to talk, preferably at a time when the grandchildren will not be present. If a first attempt is unsuccessful, it may be wise for grandparents to take a step back and give their children a bit of space. Ending the call by reassuring their kids that they only want to make peace and letting them know that they would be receptive to being contacted at a later time will let their grown children make the final decision about a reunion without applying excessive pressure.

Seeking Professional Help

While it is not reasonable to expect that old hurts can be healed overnight, willing family members can forge an agreement to begin over, leaving old arguments behind. It can often be difficult for people to see their family members as they really are, but instead they view each other from a possibly outdated perspective. Grandparents sometimes view their grown children as the irresponsible people that they may have been as teenagers or young adults, while the grandparents may be seen by their grown kids as judgmental and controlling -- characteristics that may no longer be accurate for either generation. Seeking the assistance of a licensed social worker or family counselor may be beneficial since an outsider can sometimes offer an objective point of view not easily achieved by those closest to the situation.

Extreme Circumstances

In some families, the reasons for disagreements are well founded. Addictions, abuse issues, and some illnesses can cause adult family members to purposefully distance themselves from one another and also to protect the youngest family members from being placed in possibly dangerous situations. In cases where grandparents have a history of destructive or abusive behaviours, it is not unreasonable for their grown children to keep them away from the grandkids.

Grandparents who can admit that they once engaged in distasteful behaviours but have since sought help and mended their ways may be able to convince their grown children to allow them to be a part of their grandchildren's lives by proving that they no longer pose a threat, but the final decision must be left to the children's parents. Parents have a responsibility to keep their children safe, even if it means keeping them from their grandparents or other family members.

Conversely, if it is the children's parents who are a dangerous influence, grandparents may be forced to seek protection for them. Grandparents who feel certain that they are being kept from their grandchildren because of their grown children's gross dysfunctional behaviours may want to seek legal advice. Children deserve to be raised in a safe, loving environment and while grandparents have no right to interfere with their grown children regarding the raising of the grandchildren under normal circumstances, if the children's safety or well being is at risk, grandparents must take steps to intervene.

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17077 We are in a similar situation to you.Our son-in-law is a control freak and our daughter goes along with him.It is heartbreaking.Ava and Milly - Your comments are unhelpful and come across as ignorant.Have you walked in the same situation yourselves?
Bounce - 8-Aug-17 @ 8:59 AM
I'm a nanna who had a very close relationship to my daughter until she mether husband. He has a problem with me because he thinks I believe he has let her down badly. We have worked through this and after a long period when I wasn't allowed contact my son achieved a successful mediation. The lack of contact kept me depressed and on medication but this greatly improved once contact resumed and my first grandchild was born. In any event I would not and could not let any harm come to anyone, let alone my child or grandchild.He arrived as I was fighting cancer and this was the reason my son intervened. I was allowed to care for my grandson one or two days a week when my daughter went back to work. Sadly my son died in an accident and this produced trauma for all of us. The contact with my daughter and grandchild became even more precious and I saw them every week and made sure my own mum saw them too with my daughter's blessing. There was a hiccup at one point when they cut off contact just after my son died because I was very upset but never when the baby was around. My son in law did not like that my grandson had grown so close to me. But I was asked to cover childcare again until he went to nursery and this was a very happy time. A second grandchild came along which was just wonderful. Over that 5 years we made wonderful happy memories. My daughter is under great pressure though at work and at home because she doesn't get enough support. She has come to me for emotional support which her husband hates. As a result I wasn't allowed to look after my granddaughter although I saw her weekly too . I'm pretty sure the stress my daughter is under has caused post natal depression or vice versa and when she started back at work she was given garden leave for being explosive at work. She is the main earner however and returned but is still under dreadful pressure and as far as I know has not sought the medical help which has helped me deal with my grief . My depression also first manifested as post natal depression and has recurred ever since my daughter was born at times of stress including my separation from my husband , the loss of contact with my daughter , my identical twin's death from cancer and my diagnosis and treatment and then the death of my son. I have tried really hard to be positive and playing music locally and swimming have been a wonderful emotional boost. About 8 months ago I was cut off again, this time because old issues resurfaced in the face of a potential move down south. I offered help but a heated argument at their house which came from nowhere but was fuelled by my daughter literally exploding from being calm seconds before resulted in me being asked to leave by my son in law. He turned violent that night and for the first time I realised how controlling he actually is, even though my daughter is responsible for everything - main earner, finances, the house, the children and running his business . All our good work and
Nannafi - 18-Jul-17 @ 2:43 AM
Kez - Your Question:
My ex partners mum is trying to get access to any youngest daughter does she have any rights as she put my baby in a Moses basket in the car in the dark an fog and anything could of happened to her

Our Response:
If your ex's mum is allowed to take the matter to court, it would be up to the court to decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. We cannot predict what decision a court may make.
ProudGrandparents - 13-Jul-17 @ 12:47 PM
My ex partners mum is trying to get access to any youngest daughter does she have any rights as she put my baby in a Moses basket in the car in the dark an fog and anything could of happened to her
Kez - 12-Jul-17 @ 12:02 PM
My son has been denied access from the social workers for 2 years. He had a break down after a nasty separation, and I'm included in this. I have no idea why. I was very close to the mother and my grandsons, I feel also like I'm being punished for things I haven't done. I've no idea about the legal process and the social workers never contact us I'm constantly chasing them. It's effecting my health and I cannot get over it. It's a terrible loss .
Kayla - 11-Jul-17 @ 9:27 AM
canaloki - Your Question:
I need some help to get to see my grandsons. My daughter was a drug addict and had her sons taken away from her. It was decided that the boys should live with their father and his mother became their main carer,Over the past couple of years their father has left the home due to a breakdown of relationship with his mother and her partner and very rarely sees his boys at all, His mother now has Guardianship of the boys.To begin with I was allowed to see the boys whenever I wanted but over the last year it has got harder and harder to get any time with them at all. I'm a nurse so have to fit visits around my shifts and weekends off but there is always a reason why I can't see themLast year I had to wait till the end of January before our family could see them for Christmas and this year have not been able to see them for their birthdays.I have asked if I could have them overnight at the beginning of the school holidays (have to ask by text) but being ignored.Is there anything I can do? I think its such a shame that the boys are missing out on play days with their cousins and a relationship with our side of their family.Is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
Your only recourse is to suggest mediation to see if an agreement can be reached. If not your only recourse would be to seek legal advice and see whether you have a case to apply to court.
ProudGrandparents - 10-Jul-17 @ 3:30 PM
I need some help to get to see my grandsons. My daughter was a drug addict and had her sons taken away from her. It was decided that the boys should live with their father and his mother became their main carer, Over the past couple of years their father has left the home due to a breakdown of relationship with his mother and her partner and very rarely sees his boys at all, His mother now has Guardianship of the boys. To begin with I was allowed to see the boys whenever I wanted but over the last year it has got harder and harder to get any time with them at all.I'm a nurse so have to fit visits around my shifts and weekends off but there is always a reason why I can't see them Last year I had to wait till the end of January before our family could see them for Christmas and this year have not been able to see them for their birthdays. I have asked if I could have them overnight at the beginning of the school holidays (have to ask by text) but being ignored. Is there anything I can do? I think its such a shame that the boys are missing out on play days with their cousins and a relationship with our side of their family. Is there anything I can do?
canaloki - 10-Jul-17 @ 8:02 AM
@Meema - this is awful. Did you fall out with her in any way? Do you know the reason? :(
Liv57 - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:21 AM
I was very close to my daughter & she made me a grand ma at the age of 36. So I'm a young granny of 2 very beautiful grandbabies. Unfortunately she moved away to Scotland in March past. The only way I had to contact her was FaceTime & PM. On 23rd June she stopped answering me. Last wk she took me & my whole family off facebook. I got so worried that I had phoned the police to do a welfare check to make sure she was still alive. She is & told the police she just doesn't want to talk to her family. So now I've lost all contact with my grandbabies & there's nothing I can do. My beautiful wee granddaughter turn 2 in my & my very handsome grandson will be 1 in October. They are never going to remember me. Or know me. And I don't know why.
Meema - 6-Jul-17 @ 6:05 PM
@Roz - you don't need to give a reason to withhold access. Both of you are the parents with parental responsibility. The court will maybe allow grandparents to apply to court if they have played a big part in their grandchildren's lives and for some reason have been denied access. But you guys personally don't have to justify your reasons for not allowing the grandparents access.
Dom - 3-Jul-17 @ 11:37 AM
I am a parent of a child and have a partner. I AM NOT THE GRANDPARENT. I do not want my partner's parents to have a regular relationship with my child. My partner has agreed to this. The reasons are his mother is depressed, on medication and has been negligent over the years with my partner. There are a lot of people coming and going at the house. She is not with the grandfather yet he stays over there bon a regular basis and is an alcoholic. She also has a dog which has behavioural problems. This is a set of grandparents who are big drinkers, have ex heroin addicts as friends and the grandmother even smoked whilst she was pregnant. We have decided they can see the child when we are there and it will not be regular contact as we don't want to expose our child to this. I do feel that grandparents do sometimes need to loom closer at them selves and their lives to see why they have been denied access. I am in the process of drawing up an agreement which my partner will sign and I will sign. Please can you confirm in a court of law willthis stand ? Can we do this ? The fact that they wont have regular contact means they cant cause harm or effect the childs well being if all ties were broken.
Roz - 2-Jul-17 @ 4:52 PM
Shaz - Your Question:
I've been denied access to my grand children today in court because of my son's and the mother's destructive relationship.cafcasSs has recommended no contact and no section 7 although the court recognised I was a loving grandmother it seems contact with me would disrupt the children's lives because of the relationship my son had with HER. SERING ME WOULD REMIND TGEM OF MY DON. who has had an injunction on him by her although allegations have not been proven. What can I do now to try and obtain access

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is beyond our remit to advise what you can do beyond this, except to seek further legal advice to see whether you have grounds to appeal. If you wish to appeal, the appeal must be lodged within 21 days.
ProudGrandparents - 23-Jun-17 @ 9:48 AM
I've been denied access to my grand children today in court because of my son's and the mother's destructive relationship.cafcasSs has recommended no contact and no section 7 although the court recognised I was a loving grandmother it seems contact with me would disrupt the children's lives because of the relationship my son had with HER. SERING ME WOULD REMIND TGEM OF MY DON. who has had an injunction on him by her although allegations have not been proven. What can I do now to try and obtain access
Shaz - 22-Jun-17 @ 12:20 AM
For Sob,I know exactly how you feel as I did the same. The child was already under a care plan. Now my daughter has stopped me seeing them. Sometimes it is best to take a step back and let them get on with it. I know the children are safe because the social workers keep me informed but I miss them terribly.
Sad - 18-Jun-17 @ 11:27 PM
@Milly - that's a bit of a sweeping generalisation. We haven't seen our granchildren because our daughter-in-law does not wish them to be in our lives and she makes our son's life a misery if he disobeys her. There are some nasty people out there who for no reason are on a power trip to make others' lives a complete misery. Me and my husband have never done anything wrong and have gone out of our way to be supportive, kind and generous of our grandchildren but for some that means nothing and it breaks our hearts.
Liz - 15-Jun-17 @ 12:32 PM
Yep. Every grandparent on here is completely blameless. No accountability or ability to see maybe you might play a part in the estrangement. No wonder you guys all don't see your grandchildren
Milly - 13-Jun-17 @ 9:04 PM
My sons xwife will not let me see my gkids. She was in jail on probation violation and the day before she got out i posted on her fbook page she was in jail which the kids knew and nkw shes getting a restraining order against me for posting. I know ot was wrong but i was ready to pull her hair out. I had my grandaughter here for her time in jail. I dont kniw what to do now. I have 3 gkids they live in a dump she lives with a man for 4 yrs. That has beaten her up i seen the 2 black eyes 3 yrs ago. She has them in a dangerous situation. But with this order agaist me i need to call a lawyer right.He plays in a band no licence no job except his big big they suck. She has no job and as far as i know she has no drivers licence for not paying her car ins. I dont know what to do. My son is working out of ohio for gas people and he cant come home till mid june. Im beside myself
Deb - 30-May-17 @ 11:18 PM
I'm absolutely devastated! My daughter in law doesn't like my husband n I (long story) and has worn our son down with constant arguments with him that he has now said he doesn't want us in his or his daughters life as its easier and less stressful! We have tried so hard to sort things out but to no avail. I really don't know what to do as I know we as grandparents have no rights. I've been trying to find out if there is any sort of organisation that can put us in touch with young parent that don't have grandparents as a support network. My husband and I have so much love to give, it's a shame we can't offer to support another couple. Can anyone help (heartbroken grandma)
Heart Broken Grandma - 24-May-17 @ 7:23 PM
My grandchildren are now 7 and 5 years old.I have never seen them, nor have I ever met their mother or seen her family.Despite many attempts, I have had no contact with my son for 11 years.I found out about his marriage and whereabouts accidentally, I do not know what he is doing, actually.My daughter is also married, and I have no contact with her and her husband either.They have no children. Since my separation from my first husband in 2003 and consequent divorce in 2007 the children have had no contact.
chlothra - 22-May-17 @ 3:40 PM
I reported my daughter for mental and emotional abuse of my granddaughter, which is totally genuine, and they told her I reported her, now she won't let me see the children, she lied to the social people, she won't speak to me at all,is there anything I can do. Regards
SOB - 19-May-17 @ 3:08 PM
My son & his gf have stopped me seeing my 11month old grand daughter as we have fallen out. I had an opinion regarding my sons gf addiction to laxatives for 3 years and then giving my grand daughter laxatives as she was a bit constipated. I only aired my concern as a grand parent but now none of them will speak to me. Since this too he has got back in touch with his abusive father and the lady he left me for and now they all have regular contact so they see my granddaughter more than me ! It's breaking my heart not seeing her.
Angie004 - 16-May-17 @ 8:42 AM
Hi. My partners mother has suffered with depression and been on medication for over 20 years.. we've recently been planning our wedding and come across family disagreements on planning. We've had a minor disagreement with his mother over bridesmaids and it's turned so nasty. She's stopped taking her medication just so her reaction is worse. She phones over 30 times a day and leaves nasty emails and voicemail messages. I have retaliated with a nasty email back on a few occasions but only when she's getting out of hand. She's attempted overdose. And drinks excessively.. She's looked after my children on several occasions I've come back to her being drunk she's also been violent towards my partner and laughed about my recent miscarriage. We have totally cut contact with her and now she wants access to my 2 children. I really don't want someone like this around my babies. I just need to know where they stand with access. I'm losing sleep over itwe are hoping to move to Australia later next year could this effect our move? Thank you
Lou - 30-Mar-17 @ 8:50 PM
"My sons's ex girlfriend is stopping me from seeing our granddaughter. I swear I have absolutely done nothing wrong.". I just paraphrased the above quote taken from one of the comments on here...but I find it very telling that not ONE single " grandparent (not just here but on ANY of these types of forums) has admitted to doing or saying ANYTHING at all that would cause their kids to hide the grandchildren. According to these so-called "grandparents", they were simply blindsided and out of the clear blue sky, their own kids are hiding their kids from them.. I expected to read some comments from grandparents stating they did nothing, but EVERY single comment?? No self accountability at all from the grandparents that I have read thus far. And it's really telling. All I hear is their adult children's spouses and partners being blamed. There is sickness here on these boards.
Ava - 16-Mar-17 @ 3:39 PM
Our daughter won't let us talk to our 3 grandsons age 7,4,1+. We only get to talk to them maybe 8 or9 times a year . We live in WV , they live in Arkansas.She tells us they will never visit- it is too far for them to come.We can only visit 1 time a year.When we go we fly. We then rent a car- she told us it is too much for them to pick us up at the airport.We then have to pay for a motel. So we have to cut our visit to only a few days, because of all this expense. Concerning phone calls- she says they are busy and weeknights aren't good.Weekend l ask. She says don't call us, we will call you.When she does call, we ask to talk to the boys, she still has some excu- they are outside, they are busy, etc. Our hearts are broken.Please pray for us.
3086c - 10-Mar-17 @ 10:47 PM
Lou - Your Question:
Hi I would like some advice about my sons ex girlfriend stopping myself and other family members from having any kind of access to my granddaughter. I have absolutely done anything wrong for her to stop me from seeing her.My sons ex girlfriend lives in tasmania and I live in sydney.I just don't understand why she has stopped me as im her grandmother my granddaughter is nearly 1 years old.My son and now hes ex girlfriend are no longer together she has also stopped my son from having any kind of access to hes daughter.What can I do about this.I would really appreciate some kind of advice.Thank you louise

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, as Australian family law is very different to our UK laws, then I'm afraid we cannot answer this as we are a UK-based site with knowledge only of UK based-family law.
ProudGrandparents - 3-Mar-17 @ 10:25 AM
Hi i would like some advice about my sons ex girlfriend stopping myself and other family members from having any kind of access to my granddaughter.. I have absolutely done anything wrong for her to stop me from seeing her...My sons ex girlfriend lives in tasmania and i live in sydney..I just don't understand why she has stopped me as im her grandmother my granddaughter is nearly 1 years old..My son and now hes ex girlfriend are no longer together she has also stopped my son from having any kind of access to hes daughter..What can i do about this..I would really appreciate some kind of advice..Thank you louise
Lou - 2-Mar-17 @ 6:48 AM
When people mistreat their grown children or their grown children's spouses, they need to be aware that there are consequences to their actions. Some people believe that once a new baby comes along, all is forgiven "for the sake of the baby". I don't think anyone should be excused from bad behavior just because of their family title.. I think that family should forgive and forget in most cases but there is a fine line between FAMILY disagreements and TOXIC RELATIVES! If you are wrongly denied visitation to your grandchildren then I deeply am sorry that you are having to experience that. As for the ones who cause trouble and feel entitled and that they have "a right" to their grandchildren, you are sadly mistaken.
MEJ - 28-Feb-17 @ 2:44 AM
17077 - Your Question:
We have 2 grandchildren one us nearly 5 and one nesrly 2 who live one and half hour bus ride away, we only get to see them when there parents say it is alright to do so our oldest grandson we have only baby sat him once he has never slept over and even though his mum has a mobility car never fetch them to see us they only call when they need something and we feel we are losing contact with our grandchildren it is like they do not us as grandparents in there life's and they just want mother and the other grandmother.

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is an all too common scenario with regards to the paternal grandparents, especially when parents have separated, but also when the parents remain together. The maternal grandparents quite often seem to get preferential treatment whether through convenience, familiarity, close proximity etc. Your best option is to talk to the parents, not in a negative way i.e 'you never let us see our grandchildren'. But in a positive way, such as: 'we would really like to do more for our granchildren and spend more time with them. Tell us how we can help and what we can do to make this happen?' You also have to make an effort to arrange to see them, if you can. Perhaps doing so on their home turf will help, such as arranging to take them out for the day local to where they live will help forge those bonds. Please see link here which may help.
ProudGrandparents - 15-Feb-17 @ 10:59 AM
bubbles - Your Question:
My sons ex whom he had a bit of a fling with, has taken him to court saying alot of stuff thats not true about him. Without going into that. She is not letting me see my grandchild who is used to seeing me a couple of times a week and I havent seen her for 10 weeks now. they went to court last week and the judge and child lawyer told her she has to let me see the child but she is still just not letting me. gone from false promises where she says yes you can and them leaves me waiting at a park or whereever for an hour an does not show. totally playing with my emotions as she knows I love the child so much. now she is just not answering me at all. she doesnt care about the fact shes hurting the child. I cant see though my son as she has stopped him as well even though they did have 50/50 and he cant do anything till court in may. any advive?

Our Response:
If there is a court order in place saying that you are entitled to see your grandchild, and your son's ex is breaching that order, then I suggest you ask your solicitor to write a letter to your ex reminding her of the terms of the order and the repercussions if she continues to stop access. Every breach should be logged and listed in the letter. If she continues to stop you seeing your grandchild, you should take the matter back to court. It may seem like a fruitless, long and protracted exercise, but it does have results. I hope this helps.
ProudGrandparents - 15-Feb-17 @ 10:21 AM
We have 2 grandchildren one us nearly 5 and one nesrly 2 who live one and half hour bus ride away, we only get to see them when there parents say it is alright to do so our oldest grandson we have only baby sat him once he has never slept over and even though his mum has a mobility car never fetch them to see us they only call when they need something and we feel we are losing contact with our grandchildren it is like they do not us as grandparents in there life's and they just want mother and the other grandmother.
17077 - 14-Feb-17 @ 6:58 AM
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