Lose Access

Having a family is a lot of work. It’s about making sacrafices. Sometimes there is a hard lump of pride to swallow as well. When access to our grandchildren hang in the balance it’s important to examine closely what your priorities actually are. When grandparents lose access to their grandchildren, everyone loses.

Grandparenting expert Susan Adcox writes,

“…for the vast majority of grandparents, the best solution is to repair relationships with the parents of grandchildren. Some grandparents apologize even if they don’t feel that they did anything wrong. They may also refrain from criticism about how their grandchildren are being brought up and resist volunteering advice unless asked.” 

“Grandchildren do not belong to their grandparents.”

Adcox goes on to say, “No matter how much their grandparents love them, and how much they ache to have input about their upbringing, they don’t get to make those decisions. The only exception is if the grandchildren are being abused, according to the legal definition of abuse. If children are being abused, and grandparents know about it, legally they must report it, just as any individual aware of the situation must do. Grandparents are not morally obligated to defend the abusers, even when they are their children. Grandparents need only be careful that their love for their grandchildren is not causing them to mistake loving discipline for abuse.”

But what if you are the grandparent that has lost access to your grandchild because their parents are drug addicts? That’s when you must call for legal counsel. Unfortunately, there is an epidemic of neglect due to the scourge of addictions. Therefore, the numbers of grandparents raising their grandchildren are steadily increasing.

When you fear that you will lose access to your grandchildren, you must take a hard look at what you are capable of.

Stepping in on our grandchildren’s behalf, is usually led by the heart. Thinking clearly about the total cost, emotionally, physically and financially is important.

Dangers of Surrogate Parenting

“Another pattern that is readily observable follows this pattern. Parents are having a tough time due to substance abuse, economic hardship or psychological problems. They allow the grandparents to step in and become surrogate parents. Sometimes the grandchildren actually live with their grandparents. At other times the grandparents just assume the lion’s share of responsibility for them. Then the parents get their act together and reclaim their rights as parents. If the grandparents are not very careful, they may end up being estranged from their grandchildren, because they still feel responsible for them and want to assume the parental role. The parents, desperate to reclaim their parental status, consciously or subconsciously act to remove the grandparents from their lives.”

Keeping clear boundries in your own mind, that you are the grandparent-not the parent is vital. Undstanding that your role is stablitly within the family, not taking over the family, and knowing when it’s time to step back could make the difference for the role you continue to play.

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