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RoseRed135

Should grandparents have visitation rights to their grandchildren?

51 posts in this topic

Do you believe that GPs (grandparents) have/should have basic rights to visit their GC (grandchildren)? Under all circumstances? Only under certain ones? Or not at all?

Please feel free to include your own experiences and observations in your reply. And if you've been involved in a GVR (Grandparents' Visitation Rights) case, please feel free to tell us about it if you're comfortable doing so.. (Please avoid including any identifying information, of course.)

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GaySpaceMom

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Note from RoseRed: This post has been copied & pasted here from an older thread in this same forum...

Honestly - the concept of having the right, whether legally or colloquially, to circumvent someone else's parenting choices (outside of a context of abuse or neglect) seems incredibly overbearing and controlling. Grandparents are not inherently positive forces in a child's life, and whether involving them in a child's life would cause the child stress or confusion is ultimately something that it is the parent's job, as their primary caretaker, to determine. Parents are not inherently positive forces in a child's life either, and sometimes their choices are selfish or cruel to those around them - but unless they are directly endangering the emotional or physical health of the child, that is a choice they are (sometimes unfortunately) entitled to make.

I've seen many openly rude, cruel, excessively critical, and downright abusive people (Aunts, Uncles, and yes, even Grandparents) claim that they have some kind of familial entitlement to a child. Often their reasoning is that they can help teach them the was of the world, that they will give them a "dose of reality" and be an "honest", "grounding" influence. Meanwhile, in reality, everyone else knows that they are actually excessively critical and eager to verbally abuse the people around them under the guise of "telling things like they are." There are a lot of people that confuse the consequences for their own negativity or overbearing behavior as some kind of baseless cruelty on the part of the child's parents, and cloak their attempts at control in the language of concern.

There's a lot of uncomfortable implications that accompany the idea of Grandparents having visitation rights. The implication that a child can't possibly live a healthy or fulfilling life without Grandma Sue and Grandpa Joe being personally, consistently involved. The implication that the grandparents are the ultimate authority on what is good for the grandchild and should be allowed to circumvent the parents. The implication that the amount of access a grandparent wants to a grandchild is automatically healthy and reasonable - not only that, but that the grandparent not being given the access they want to a grandchild is detrimental to the child's wellbeing. The implication that parents should not be allowed to decide who they want in their child's life if those people have any kind of familial relationship to the child.

Don't get me wrong, if a grandparent has an established neutral or positive relationship with a child and their parents and the restrictions being placed are very clearly in response to something the grandparent has nothing to do with - such as a divorce - denying reasonable visitation and access to the child for the sake of hurting or punishing them is cruel to the grandparents. But at the end of the day, the only reaction that truly puts your grandchildren first is to disengage and hope that when they have agency of their own, they find you. To me, the idea of trying to force visitation and engage in a power struggle with a child's parent seems to be less about the child's quality of life and more about the grandparent's wants and feelings. Which certainly aren't invalid, and may even be cor

rrect. But even if they are, trying to push to sidestep the parent's wishes is still subjecting a child to the tension and negativity between the adults involved. Is is still forcing the child to be in the middle of the power play between the adults.

If someone is trying to set up a game using your grandchildren as pawns, trying to "beat" them still has you on the other side of the game board doing the same thing.

Edited by RoseRed135
typos in my "Note"

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No, they shouldn't.

GPR are pretty much the only ones I can think of that takes rights *away* from one group to give to another. Parents should not lose their rights to parent their children in accordance with their own views, just b/c someone else doesn't like their choices.

If parents are abusive, neglectful, then that's a completely different kettle of fish. But for average parents, making the best decisions they can, parenting as best they can, do not deserve to lose their rights to parent their children.

And let's take the long view: if GPR becomes a thing (Troxel v Granville, Supreme Court says no if both parents are in agreement), where does it end? What about aunts, uncles, cousins, great grandparents? 

It's ok for adults, who promise forever, to get divorced. Why isn't it equally acceptable for adult children to decide that the relationship is no longer healthy for them and go NC w/their parents? Children make no legal contracts w/parents as to lifelong relationships, nor do they sign any contract in regard to grandchildren. So why are adult children held to a higher standard (not allowed to end the relationship, esp w/grandchildren, otherwise accusations of elder/child abuse fly) than adults who enter marriage contracts? 

 

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Grandparenting is a privilege not a right.

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Even in cases of divorce or other trauma, if the grandparents have been neutral, supportive and available without being demanding, they will often be able to continue the relationship with the grandchildren. I know several families where this has happened. They may not get to see the grandchildren as often as they would like, but they still are included. This really requires the grandparent to stay out of the parents' marriage and divorce issues, though. And to support both parents, not just one's own child. And nothing torpedos this kind of relationship faster than being demanding, or worse, using the courts to enforce your will. Except in cases of abuse or neglect, children will not be happy to be ripped from loving parents. My spouse is a lawyer, not family law, but he does some family law work pro bono. He has handled several cases where grandparents were suing for visitation/custody. In all the cases he's worked on, he represented the parents, and the grandparents have lost, because my state has some very narrow parameters of when visitation will be granted. But taking the parents to court and suing them is the fastest way to ensure you never see your grandchildren again, if you lose the case. Reconciling with the parents and doing what they want is far more expedient.

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Welcome @Oceanisland44and I totally agree. My DS divorced (with 3 kids!) yet I know what a PIA he is and how passive aggressive xDIL can be....so I didn't take sides. Both are now remarried, the kids are stable. I see them pretty much whenever I want. 

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On 9/28/2017 at 3:39 PM, ImpishMom said:

No, they shouldn't.

GPR are pretty much the only ones I can think of that takes rights *away* from one group to give to another. Parents should not lose their rights to parent their children in accordance with their own views, just b/c someone else doesn't like their choices.

If parents are abusive, neglectful, then that's a completely different kettle of fish. But for average parents, making the best decisions they can, parenting as best they can, do not deserve to lose their rights to parent their children.

And let's take the long view: if GPR becomes a thing (Troxel v Granville, Supreme Court says no if both parents are in agreement), where does it end? What about aunts, uncles, cousins, great grandparents? 

It's ok for adults, who promise forever, to get divorced. Why isn't it equally acceptable for adult children to decide that the relationship is no longer healthy for them and go NC w/their parents? Children make no legal contracts w/parents as to lifelong relationships, nor do they sign any contract in regard to grandchildren. So why are adult children held to a higher standard (not allowed to end the relationship, esp w/grandchildren, otherwise accusations of elder/child abuse fly) than adults who enter marriage contracts? 

AGREED 100%!!!

 

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 I would not want a grandchild to be forced into the middle like this. I would give anything to have a relationship with my grandson BUT not under court order and against the parents wishes. Even if I don't agree with their reasons, still parents have a right to choose who their children have a relationship with.

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3 hours ago, pearlj said:

 I would not want a grandchild to be forced into the middle like this. I would give anything to have a relationship with my grandson BUT not under court order and against the parents wishes. Even if I don't agree with their reasons, still parents have a right to choose who their children have a relationship with.

So it appears that you have been distanced from your GS, Pearl. I'm so very sorry. Kudos to you for being able to step back and look at this issue objectively. That can't be that easy to do. (((Hugs!)))

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1 hour ago, RoseRed135 said:

So it appears that you have been distanced from your GS, Pearl. I'm so very sorry. Kudos to you for being able to step back and look at this issue objectively. That can't be that easy to do. (((Hugs!)))

We are estranged from our daughter and so her son is not allowed to have a relationship with us. We don't agree with it, and I feel so sorry for my grandson BUT it is what it is. 

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My heart goes out to you and DH, Pearl. Hopefully, in time the situation w/ DD will improve.  If not, perhaps GS will seek you out someday when he's older.

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Grandparents Rights No, but children should have Children's Rights and access to loving Grandparents, what right does any adult have to deprive a child of Grand parental love, 'What did the children do that was wrong', they are the ones caught in the middle of feuding adults. 

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On 9/28/2017 at 7:26 PM, RoseRed135 said:

Do you believe that GPs (grandparents) have/should have basic rights to visit their GC (grandchildren)? Under all circumstances? Only under certain ones? Or not at all?

No basic rights for GPs are needed, none. No access unless it's ok with the parents.

Rights to under 18 year olds reside with the parents.

ETA: Rosered said it well (below)  "may believe that distancing the child from the GPs is actually in the child's "best interest." Their decision may be wrong, but as Imp points out, they are charged w/ the responsibility of making these choices. Should a child's "right" to "loving grandparents" override the parents concerns?"  My answer would be absolutely not.

Edited by JanelleK

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2 hours ago, NannieE said:

Grandparents Rights No, but children should have Children's Rights and access to loving Grandparents, what right does any adult have to deprive a child of Grand parental love, 'What did the children do that was wrong', they are the ones caught in the middle of feuding adults. 

What right does any non parent have to deprive parents of time with their children, or children with their parents?

In a typical family, a child's primary relationship is with their parent. A grandparent relationship doesn't come close to that of the parent, and shouldn't be treated as a non custodial parent. Parents, according to the US Supreme Court, Troxel v Granville, have the right to decide if a relationship w/grandparents is in the child's best interest.

 

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3 hours ago, NannieE said:

Grandparents Rights No, but children should have Children's Rights and access to loving Grandparents, what right does any adult have to deprive a child of Grand parental love, 'What did the children do that was wrong', they are the ones caught in the middle of feuding adults. 

NannieE, I think I understand what you are trying to say. However, a parent's job is to look out for the child's best interest when they are unable to do so for themselves. So if 'Childrens's Rights' existed in lieu of 'Grandparents's Rights' then parameters would still have to be set in place to protect the child. Let me give you an example from my own personal life. 

As a child, I spent considerable amounts of time with my maternal grandparents during the summer. They were Granny Nannies so to speak. There were tons of reasons why I loved being over there. Of course, I loved my GP, there is no question. But as a child, I can remember what really motivated me. I got to travel, they had an awesome swimming pool, my friends lived close by, and frankly I was the center of attention (my brothers would always go to paternal GM because all of the boy cousins were there. I was the only girl). I enjoyed the advantages of visiting my MGP. Again, that's not to say that I didn't love them or the relationship, but THAT wasn't what motivated my child-mind. When my mom would come to pick me up, I would hide and tell her I didn't want to go home. NOT because I didn't love my parents. But because I knew if I went home I would have to clean my room, do my chores, go to bed on time, etc. 

My point being this, you cannot always depend on a child to know what is best for themselves. They know what they like and don't like, BUT those things don't always align to what is best or safest. So let's say a child is being exposed to bad people or influences, drugs or abuse etc by their grandparents. (or maybe the grandparents were abusive to the parents and they don't want the child exposed to them). If, for example, the GPs have lots of fun opportunities to offer, the child may not be able to differentiate between what is best for them and what they want to do. 

I know that is oversimplified, but the reality is that a parent's job is to protect their child and make decisions in their best interest.  If 'children's rights' were used in lieu of 'grandparents's rights', someone STILL has to look out for the interests of the child, someone STILL has to ensure that the rights the child wants to exercise are safe and acceptable. In essence, calling it 'children's rights' is really no different than calling it 'grandparents rights'. The same due diligence would have to be completed. And ultimately, the parents would still have the final decision unless the courts essentially take away the parent's rights to make decisions for their minor child. Which is a key component of the issues with GPV right now anyway. 

A parent choosing to keep their child from GPs is not an indication that a child did anything wrong. It is 'generally' an indication that there is something wrong with the parent/grandparent relationship, that the grandparents did something wrong, that the parents have concerns about the child being exposed to the grandparents for some reason, etc. 

If there is any question in the Court system that the parents AREN'T looking out for the child's best interest, typically a GAL will be assigned to speak for the child.

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5 hours ago, NannieE said:

Grandparents Rights No, but children should have Children's Rights and access to loving Grandparents, what right does any adult have to deprive a child of Grand parental love, 'What did the children do that was wrong', they are the ones caught in the middle of feuding adults. 

I get what you're saying, too, Nannie. And, IMO, it's beautiful to look at the child's side of this issue. Not everybody does.

But I think PPs make some excellent points, also. Want to add that, sometimes, it's just a matter of logistics, unfortunately. If the parents and GPs aren't speaking, for example, how are they going to arrange  for the GC to visit GPs?

But sometimes, the adult issues are about the child. As BEG indicates, the GPs might have a history of abusiveness, and the parents may be trying to shield the child from that. Or it could just be that the GPs tend to undermine the parents' authority w/ their child (as in, "You don't have to listen to Mommy, do it my way" or "Shhh! Let's break this/that rule and not tell Mom and Dad," etc.). Or maybe the parents are trying to teach their child a certain value system, but the GPs are trying to teach them an entirely different set of ideas The parents might feel that these concerns weigh more heavily than whether or not the child is receiving love from still one or two more people. Sad to say, they may believe that distancing the child from the GPs is actually in the child's "best interest." Their decision may be wrong, but as Imp points out, they are charged w/ the responsibility of making these choices. Should a child's "right" to "loving grandparents" override the parents concerns?

Edited by RoseRed135

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4 hours ago, NannieE said:

Grandparents Rights No, but children should have Children's Rights and access to loving Grandparents, what right does any adult have to deprive a child of Grand parental love, 'What did the children do that was wrong', they are the ones caught in the middle of feuding adults. 

I think, if you read through some threads here, you'll find that "most" people who have a CO/TO/VLC relationship with IL's still have their spouse take the kids to see the IL's. They do believe in and want that relationship for their kiddos. The grandparent might be toxic or push boundaries with the ACIL but have a  great relationship with the kids. The problem though is not all grandparents are loving. Not all grandparents give or show love. For some of us, if a grandparent is "toxic" or pushes boundaries around an adult, we figure they certainly will around the kids too. Doesn't always happen, of course, but some of the time, it does happen. For us, PIL's were angry at us but took out their anger on our ODD. That is never OK. We have other elder folks in our lives who have "adopted" our kids and they treat all of us so much better than family. So blood does not always matter.

It's the parents responsibility to protect their children. From anyone and anything that would cause harm, any harm. Again, not all grandparents are loving.

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The point I was making was about 'Loving Grandparents'.  Sometimes the parents aren't working in the best interests of the child.  I have worked with Grandparents that have built up wonderful and loving relationships with their Grand children only for a separation or divorce to occur and suddenly access stops, that is so damaging to the child.  Not all Grandparents are toxic just as not all  Dil or Sil are toxic, every case is different, but the children should be at the forefront not the adults.

If you have issues with any adults in your family sort it out with them don't bring the children into it, because all you are doing is creating damaged children that will turn into damaged adults and the cycle continues from generation to generation.  People need to grow up and take responsibility, look at the world we live in everyone is fighting and blaming someone else.  And it is the poor helpless children that suffer.

Edited by NannieE
missed a bit

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I think that unless someone is being punitive, it boils down to trust issues. This person is negative/hostile/condescending/whatever to me, how can I trust them with my child? I have to make the decisions for my child. 

My DS/xDIL have 3 kids together...they live mostly with their mother...I have full access because I made a point to maintain a positive relationship with xDIL even while she & DS were seriously at odds. I didn't take sides, I know them both well and neither is a picnic to live with. Both are remarried and happy, making the entire process easier on us all. Parents & kids trust me...the new spouses trust me. All good.

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49 minutes ago, NannieE said:

The point I was making was about 'Loving Grandparents'.  Sometimes the parents aren't working in the best interests of the child.  I have worked with Grandparents that have built up wonderful and loving relationships with their Grand children only for a separation or divorce to occur and suddenly access stops, that is so damaging to the child.  Not all Grandparents are toxic just as not all  Dil or Sil are toxic, every case is different, but the children should be at the forefront not the adults.

If you have issues with any adults in your family sort it out with them don't bring the children into it, because all you are doing is creating damaged children that will turn into damaged adults and the cycle continues from generation to generation.  People need to grow up and take responsibility, look at the world we live in everyone is fighting and blaming someone else.  And it is the poor helpless children that suffer.

In the case of divorce or separation, the grandparent's AC should be ensuring that the child sees their grandparents on their visitation time. If they're not doing so, then the failing is on the AC.

If you want a relationship w/grandchildren, the place to start is having a respectful relationship w/your AC/CIL.

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8 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

If you want a relationship w/grandchildren, the place to start is having a respectful relationship w/your AC/CIL.

Precisely. Relationship with GC has everything to do with a stellar relationship with one's own child.

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2 minutes ago, JanelleK said:

Precisely. Relationship with GC has everything to do with a stellar relationship with one's own child.

A good working relationship, doesn't need to be stellar, although that helps. My relationship with my mom was hardly "stellar", but she loved the kids and they loved her...she'd never do anything to jeopardize their health/safety...The relationships changed as everyone got older...my kids quietly dropped the rope with her based solely on her actions.

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2 hours ago, NannieE said:

The point I was making was about 'Loving Grandparents'.  Sometimes the parents aren't working in the best interests of the child.  I have worked with Grandparents that have built up wonderful and loving relationships with their Grand children only for a separation or divorce to occur and suddenly access stops, that is so damaging to the child.  Not all Grandparents are toxic just as not all  Dil or Sil are toxic, every case is different, but the children should be at the forefront not the adults.

If you have issues with any adults in your family sort it out with them don't bring the children into it, because all you are doing is creating damaged children that will turn into damaged adults and the cycle continues from generation to generation.  People need to grow up and take responsibility, look at the world we live in everyone is fighting and blaming someone else.  And it is the poor helpless children that suffer.

Point taken. However, define 'loving grandparents'. There have been grandparents who took their grands to be baptized without parent permission because they thought the child should be baptized and the parents did not agree. This could be argued as 'loving' in the grandparents's minds, however, not so much in the parents's minds.  'Loving grandparents' might think it's ok to feed a child something to which they are allergic, in the interest proving they aren't for example (it's happened). 'Loving grandparents' might believe in spanking their grandchild, where the parents don't want that type of discipline used on their children. This is one of the areas that makes GPV such a kerfluffle.  Definitions like 'loving' are subjective at best. 

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I think the biggest problem is control, everyone wants to control and the losers are the children.  Considering this is a Grandparent site it seems to be very anti Grandparents.

What about the wonderful things Grandparents do for their Adult Children and Grandchildren, the blame game is a live and well.

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11 minutes ago, NannieE said:

I think the biggest problem is control, everyone wants to control and the losers are the children.  Considering this is a Grandparent site it seems to be very anti Grandparents.

What about the wonderful things Grandparents do for their Adult Children and Grandchildren, the blame game is a live and well.

I've been gone for a long time, but I honestly don't think it is 'anti-grandparents'. I think there are a lot of voices here that have different experiences. My children have (for the most part) had wonderful relationships with the 4 grandparents and 3 great grandparents they've had the privilege to know and love. Over the years, they've lost two great grands and two grands. They have my mom, my grandmother and my FIL left now. They maintain great relationships with their grandmother and great grandmother. However my FIL has managed over the last few years to alienate ALL of his grandchildren. They are all all adults or very close, and have minds of their own and as you say, they have a right to be with loving grandparents. My FIL isn't fitting that bill, and they have all distanced themselves. We offer them the opportunity to see him. They turn it down. I don't think we are being anti-grandparent. I think my FIL is forcing their hands and causing his own alienation. 

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