Grandparents who are Denied Access to Grandchildren

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.

No Access
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

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difficult for people to see their family members as they really are, but instead they view each other from a possibly outdated perspective.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 counsellor 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.

21 thoughts on “Grandparents who are Denied Access to Grandchildren”

  1. 17 years I have sent presents to my Grandaughter who am denied seeing due to my daughter s Controlling husband who has now died but my daughter still will not allow me to see her and my grandson who is 10 now
    Cruel and barbaric behavior we were good parents but because he was stopping us from seeing her I sent a court letter after x 4 begging letters to see her.
    That sealed the fate and we still cannot see her . No reason just stupid pride that they won’t let the kids choose.
    Heartbroken 💔

    • OH Daisy, how sad? Maybe when your granddaughter is old enough she will want to know more about her grandparents and will make an effort to find you, still a long way off, I know, but it does happen.

      Best wishes xxx

  2. My son has three children. 1 from a previous relationship aged 9. And two in the relationship he’s in now. One Aged 2 and a 2 month old.
    I have helped them out massively. I have bailed my son out financially on many and varied occasions.
    During lockdown he couldn’t work. I gave them money. Bought them groceries. Made sure they didn’t go without.
    I went to stay with my granddaughter whilst they went to the hospital to have my grandson.
    My son drinks a lot. And when the baby was only about a week old they were struggling to pay their rent and bills. I stepped in and loaned them the money but said I did need it back. My son assured me I’d get it back when he got his tax return later that month.
    I asked for the money back but was told he didn’t have it.
    I got a little upset and told his brother about the money.
    My eldest son called me ranting and raving at me because I’d told his brother. The upshot is .. he has banned me from seeing my grandchildren.
    I live around 200 miles from them but they would FaceTime me almost daily with my granddaughter. It’s been about 4 weeks now and I think she will forget me.
    Everything I have done for them has suddenly been forgotten.
    And whilst they couldn’t pay their rent he always has enough money to buy alcohol.
    My son has no idea how much this hurts me and he doesn’t care.

  3. My daughter had her boy taken at 3 weeks old her ex has custody and my daughter skpes every 2 weeks . I am terminal and have no contact since he was taken i am an ex licencee and teacher with no criminal history yet ive been told i have no rights to skype or contact even though i had 1 hour a week at contact centre which was stopped with no explanation please help

  4. Lost my stepson 6/3/20 in motorcycle accident. I raised him since he was 3yrs old he died 2 weeks after his 30th bday on my oldest daughter his sister birthday. His dad is lost without him as we all are however hes taking it the hardest.

    Anthony has 2 daughters and thier mom is giving everyone a hard time to see them. She doesn’t reach out to anyone and says if we dont call then w dont see girls and even when we do its on her terms.

    Just sad situation youd think that she would have some sympathy for her baby’s grandfather but no shes just being evil and selfish. I told him to go get grandparents visitation but he doesn’t want to do that so….messed up!!

    I’m just a step mom who lost her babyboy and has no rights so I keep my mouth shut but am truly heartbroken! SMDH

  5. My sons ex partner has stopped me seeing my grandchildren I have looked after them every other weekend since they were babies one is five the other one is three ,there was a court order in place with regard my son seeing his children ,their mother has taken it back to court to have his access stopped in the meantime he gets video calls each night ,but she has stopped my self ,my husband and their other brother from another relationship

    The first hearing was in April next one is August we will not by then have seen the kids for six months god knows what they must think

    She is a very spiteful girl who uses her children as weapons It has broken my heart but she will not let us speak to them and told my son he is lucky he is having video call this was put in place by the court till final hearing , she keeps threatening to stop this Those children must think we just don’t want to know

  6. My son died on the 2nd of April 2018 on his way to work his moped crashed with a car. 18 days before my son died he became a Daddy for the 1st time, he was 23 lived with his girlfriend’s family and we we’re all looking forward to baby Nellie bringing so such joy to how life’s.

    The day after my son died the police bought his phone back an his girlfriend found messages to other girls, since then she hasn’t let me see my granddaughter iv asked so many times in fact its taken me a year to get hold of a photo of my granddaughter!

    My hearts broken I lost my baby boy he was my world an I can’t even see his daughter please help me, I’m the only one who will tell my granddaughter all about her Daddy. Iv got bad depression an since my son died I find it very hard to get out. The day he died a part of me went with him!

    I no things will never be the same again but having his little girl in my life will help me so much, I just don’t think its fair she can play god with her an my sons daughter an his not here to defend his self so I made a premise to my self that my granddaughter would no everything about her Daddy he was such a good man, we all had so many plans for when baby was here but should won’t even let me have a photo I’m blocked on everything

  7. My son died but was never married but does have name on birth certificate is partner has turned round and said i was an unfit mother to my son so your never seeing your grand kids again which is not true

  8. Hi , I’m in a odd situation where my son had a one night stand and the girl became pregnant. They decided to have the baby and stay friends. She became possessive and demanding with him . She had a boy and my son stayed every day and some nights to help out because he wanted to but she wouldn’t allow him to take his son out ECT.

    Anyway it came to a head in January when she told him he had to stay at hers every weekend, he wanted to have his son in his own home but she wouldn’t allow that. He decided to go to court to get access, she’s dragged this out as long as she can .

    They went to court today and she’s now using my mental illness as a reason . He still lives at home ,I have had the death of my mum , son ,brother, marriage split over six years so as you can imagine it’s affecting my mental health.

    I suffer from severe depression, complicated grief disorder and PTSD. I’m no danger to anyone , can she do that ?

  9. What can I do my daughter has stopped me having contact with my grand daughter of only 19 months old. She has recently started to see her father after 18 yrs hence the lack of contact with me and my family she has established a relationship with him and his wife after they stopped contact with her when they had there own family.

    That isn’t my problem but the results of this made her have less contact with me and my family over the months ignoring my calls delayed return of texts asking to see my grand daughter my time is limited as I work full time shift.

    My daughter has made it difficult for me to see my grand daughter in so many ways to the point of making appointments in advance to see her I have earnt the right of been a grand parent I brought my daughter up I don’t deserve this it’s like she has swooped one family for another

  10. Some of the stories I’ve read on here are similar to mine.. Not allowed to see my two Grandchildren and wasn’t informed about the birth of the second after saying that I would not lend my Son money.

    They bought me out of a property which I paid the deposit/legal fees…has equity and which my Daughter in law hardly paid anything for.

    I’ve had abusive texts and emails and lies told.. The grandchildren don’t know me The last time I saw the little girl was 2 years ago. But we’re in the same town.

    The Daughter in law has been abusive in public, given me the finger….All I am do is sit and bide my time. Maybe my Son will contact me one day…I’ve offered to pay for mediation and counselling so I’m just playing a waiting game…I don’t really know that there is anything else I can do..

  11. Hello. I stopped from giving my grandson up for adoption. My grandson was released to come home with me. I raised my grandson up to 2 1/2 yrs old.

    Now my son ex girlfriend told my son she is moving to Florida at the end of July. What can I do to stop her from moving out of state with my grandson?

  12. I’m at the other end of the debate. I felt my in laws never bothered with my son. They never made much effort, and always hated me.

    My late husband completed suicide which they openly blamed me for. I’ve since stopped access to my son. I don’t need him hearing those things.

    I wish things could be amicable, but we’ve tried mediation which unfortunately failed. It’s all a very sad situation and I wish we could get together and fix it.

  13. Our son and daughter in law use their children as pawns with us. We give them money plus a deposit for a house plus bought them a car.

    Recently I said no to our son he wanted to stay at our house and rent his house out on air bnb..I said no he and his wife have become very bitter towards us and think we are manipulative narcissist were the words used

    They both work from home part time doing computer work. Earning power is not great but we think they can’t budget so always looking for a way to get more money or use us.

    It’s the first time I have ever said no but as much as I know in my heart I am right I think we may never see our grandchildren again.

    Do I give in to keep the peace give them more money?

    I am lost our 2 other children ask us for nothing just to babysit Our other children think we should stop worrying about our son as they think he’s awful and also have very little to do with him.. it’s just so sad can anyone come up with a suggestion?

  14. My son lives next door to me I haven’t seen my granddaughter in 2 yearsand they just had a baby who is now 6 months old, who I’ve never met.

    I live right next door to him that’s really hard he got mad because I made him get his car out of my garage have been in there for 5 years and I guess that’s my punishment not seeing my grandkid or the baby I’ve never met

  15. Grandparents are often the “forgotten” victims when parents split.It’s very unfortunate. I have helped so many grandparents as a professional McKenzie Friend in these situations.Heartbreaking 🙁

  16. Never thought in a million years I’d consider cutting family ties. Some of you may want to consider that your memory is getting selective and you were a bad parent.

    That “I did my best BS” is not acknowledging crappy things you did as a parent. Own your past behaviour. It might get you a visit with your grandkids.

    I am a self admitted hot headed person, assertive and fiercely protective over my wife and kids. My parents are typical for their generation. Zero conflict resolution skills, never dealing with issues directly, picking favourite grandchildren (simply because the misbehaving child comes from a single parent household).

    I can handle the physical and mental abuse I endured at the hands of my mother who is in complete denial about the situation currently and the abuse I suffered at the hands of her boyfriend.

    What I will not put up with is they treat my kids differently, deny it, and refuse to even entertain the possibility the perception is there.

    Since I am the hot head of the family, had a lot of problems as a kid, I’m thought of us the irresponsible kid. Even though I’ve held a marriage together the longest, and have been in the same career for over 20 years.

    Some of you older people need to do a checklist of your past behaviours and you not being able to see your grandkids is because you sucked as a parent.

    My kids will not know the life I had as a kid. If it means cutting off blood relatives, then so be it. Even if means I can’t have a relationship with my other 2 siblings and their kids.

    My kids are growing up to be self reliant, confident and hopefully will not enter familial relationships with the too too many damaged people out there.

  17. My sons ex girlfriend is the most wicked on this planet pure narcissistic she uses my grandkids as tools against me and my son has stopped contact.

    Past 4 weeks got a new boyfriend 8 years younger than her and the family are scum taking over my grandchildren. They don’t love them they just want to see us hurt this is slowly killing me

  18. My son got with a controller freak had my granddaughter. I spent first four years where my Granddaughter would stay with me every weekend. I would babysit one night during week too.

    She was a happy little girl Then her parents split up and it all went down hill her mum uses my granddaughter as a tool she won’t let us talk on telephone she refuses all gifts I’ve sent I no she will be calling us to my granddaughter.

    I’ve begged and broke my heart I’ve cried so many tears. It’s being 4yrs now I still cry.

    My poor granddaughter must think we don’t care about her. But everyday we think of her.

  19. My grandson was born three days ago. I have been told I will never see him, by my daughter, his mum. She fell out with me over 7 years ago after I had an affair that ended in me and her dad divorcing.

    She has never forgiven me. Ironically me and my ex are now on good terms. My other grandchildren I look after one day a week ( I work full time so cannot do more) and if I didn’t do that I’d never see them either. My punishment goes on. I can see this is my own fault.

  20. My daughter has fallen out with her cousin and has decided that I cannot have my granddaughter around her cousins child I have objected to this telling her that there argument is nothing to do with the children.

    I have now been stopped from seeing my granddaughter (usually every Saturday for the last two years) because I disagree with her controlling behaviour her partner won’t tell her she is wrong and the in-laws are scared to say anything in case they are alienated too.

    Thinking of going to court to get this sorted as this is the 3rd time she has used my granddaughter as a weapon over silly things

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