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Family dynamics can be a tricky thing. While everyone’s differences can be beautiful, they can also lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and, sometimes, a complete cut-off in communication. While these situations are always difficult, they become even more so when it involves your adult child and, in turn, your grandchildren.
The situation may seem hopeless, but I am here to remind you that every morning begins a new day, and things can always change and improve. If you are in this distressing situation where you cannot see your grandchild, I would like to offer you these words and tips that can help you deal with this heartbreak:
1. Assess and self-reflect
You don’t need me to tell you this because I am sure you have done this a time or two already. However, it is still worth noting, especially if you were never given a reason for your child’s silence. Assessing old conversations and situations can be a great place to begin the process of reconnecting with your adult child and their children. Think about past events or conflicts that could have led to this decision. I think it’s important to understand the context so you can address the problem effectively.
If you know why you have been pushed out of your child’s life and kept away from your grandkids, self-reflection can still be a valuable tool that allows you to dig in and begin the healing process. Take a good look at your behavior and relationships with your family. Are there any areas where you could improve? Be honest with yourself about any role you might have played in creating the situation.
Trying to begin a dialog with someone who refuses to talk can feel impossible but is not entirely hopeless. Try reaching out to your child (the parent of your grandchildren) in a gentle, non-confrontational way. Share that you miss your grandchildren and would like to understand their concerns. Keep the conversation calm and respectful so everyone feels comfortable opening up.
Another part of effective communication is listening. If and when your adult child shares their thoughts, listen to what they’re saying. Show empathy and understanding, and validate their feelings. It’s essential to find common ground and see things from their perspective.
Need help getting your adult child to communicate? It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of writing letters and just so happen to think a handwritten note is precisely what this situation calls for. Write about how much you miss your child and your grandchildren. If the fault lies on your side, apologize. If you are still in a situation where you do not understand where things went wrong, you can also share that. Tell them you are ready to do the work and hope they feel the same.
3. Give and take
This may sound like an oxymoron, but healing a strained relationship takes equal parts compromise and boundaries.
Regarding compromise, be open to making changes or concessions to help improve the situation, whether apologizing, adjusting your behavior, or even participating in family therapy together. Demonstrating a willingness to change can go a long way.
At the same time, you want to set boundaries to protect yourself and make it so your grandchildren do not suffer the brunt of the riff. Work with your grown child to set boundaries and expectations for your relationship with your grandchildren. Having clear guidelines will help everyone feel more comfortable and avoid misunderstandings.
When you can’t see your grandkids, the last thing you want to do is be patient (and who can blame you?). This quality is, however, vital, as rebuilding trust and repairing relationships can take time.
Show your dedication to the process and be patient, even if progress is slow. Sometimes, it can take a while for people to change their perceptions and feelings. Consistency in your efforts and genuine care for your family’s well-being will eventually show through.
Family dynamics can change over time, and there may be future opportunities for reconciliation and healing. By demonstrating patience, love, and a willingness to work through challenges, you are laying the foundation for a stronger relationship with your grandchildren and their parents in the long run.
5. Take care of yourself
This situation can be emotionally draining, and it’s essential to have a support system in place. Contact friends, family members, or support groups for grandparents who have experienced similar issues. Talking to others who have gone through this process can provide valuable advice and emotional support. In addition to having emotional support from your community, you can take up hobbies to assist in your self-care and pass the time while you wait.
6. Try to be involved as best you can
Stay involved in your grandchildren’s lives as much as possible, even from a distance. Send cards or letters, maintain a presence on social media if appropriate, and keep up with their interests and activities. This will show your grandchildren that you care about them and are thinking of them.
7. Legal options
Depending on your situation, you may need to seek legal options to see (or obtain) your grandchildren, especially if you suspect your child is mistreating your grandchildren or is unfit to parent at this time. This should be your last resort, as it can strain family relationships even more. Consult with a family law attorney to understand your rights and possible outcomes. Remember that the court’s primary concern is the child’s best interest, and they will consider various factors before making a decision.
If this article applies to you, please know that I am praying for you. The only word for this situation is heartbreaking. However, things can always change, so never lose hope and keep on loving those grandbabies, even if it is from a distance. I am sending you my love, my fellow Devoted Grandma. Let’s talk again soon <3