Gransnet forums


Estranged GP Link

(27 Posts)
Norah Sat 05-Oct-19 17:43:33

Gonegirl Sat 05-Oct-19 18:02:33

Thank you Norah.

Esther Rantzen has been a good friend to Gransnet over the years. There was a webchat a few years back.

Gransnet HQ called GNrs attention to this article a few years back

I am pretty sure one of the grans mentioned in the article is or was a Gransnetter. There was a programme on tv too, where she was talking to the estranged grans.

Good to see she is still on the case. She seems to genuinely care about older people.

Namsnanny Sat 05-Oct-19 18:18:15

Norah….Thankyou for posting the linksmile

Starblaze Sun 06-Oct-19 01:11:40

Guys I get this is an awful subject but I feel a bit uncomfortable with a couple of things. There's no info, like, why was the relationship difficult? Also, you should never ever ask a 4 and a half year old to keep a secret from their parent. Accosting them on the street like that is wrong too and may have been very upsetting for the child. I feel like a lot of people reading the article will pick up on those things and it actually doesn't paint parents who have been unfairly estranged in a good light and I'm baffled by that.

Starblaze Sun 06-Oct-19 01:16:53

The rest of the article is quite good, and well written. Seems so strange to me it would lead in with such an obvious "something isn't right here" story.

agnurse Sun 06-Oct-19 02:23:14


I agree with you 100%. Telling a child to keep a secret is a HUGE red flag and TBH I would never trust such a person with my child. I also don't agree that other countries don't have the requirement to ask leave of the court.

In the U.S., grandparent rights vary depending on the state. Some have them, some don't. In Canada, I think it depends on the province, but I know in our province, grandparents can only ask directly for rights if the parents aren't married or aren't together. If the parents are married, the grandparents must ask leave of the court to apply.

Hithere Sun 06-Oct-19 03:57:38

You nailed it
Also the grandmother talking to the child in the phone is a huge red flag

Smileless2012 Sun 06-Oct-19 14:22:58

Bumping into your ED and GS in the street, isn't accosting them and it appears from the article that the child was articulating his upset at no longer seeing his GM, by asking her why she no longer goes to the house, rather than him and his mother bumping into her.

I don't see how the article doesn't paint unfairly estranged P's in a good lightconfused.

It was a mistake for the step GF to allow the child to speak to his EGM and most definitely wrong to tell him not to mention the conversation to his mother. He should not have taken the call why she was there.

It was wrong IMO for the GM to have that conversation, that said the temptation to do so must have been enormous, no doubt leading her to listen to her heart rather than her head.

Starblaze Sun 06-Oct-19 14:53:33

I think it's a trope honestly, a deliberate attempt to promote discussion and therefor sharing of the article by anyone touched by estrangement. Reporters are known to do that to gain traction for an article.

Gonegirl Sun 06-Oct-19 17:07:53

I am glad one of the grans in the article has now been reunited with her granddaughter, after eleven years.

Starlady Sun 06-Oct-19 17:55:33

Interesting link, Norah! Thank you!

I agree w/ Smileless that bumping into an EAC and GC on the street isn't "accosting" them. Nor is it the EGM's fault that the GS called out to her and asked a question. No matter how crucial parents reasons are for going NC, they need to realize they can't control everything (such as chance meetings), especially if they live in the same vicinity as the GPs.

Also, IMO, this scenario shows that the boy is wondering why he doesn't see his EGM anymore. I doubt it's on his mind all the time, but he does think of it, and his mum needs to address it, even if she just says, "Granny and I aren't getting along."

However, I also agree that the SGF (step-grandfather) shouldn't have shared that phone call w/ the EGM or asked the boy to keep a secret from his parents. In fact, I agree w/ Smileless that he shouldn't have taken the call in front of the EGM. It was normal for him to pick up the call, but he should have thought twice about it. Unfortunately, he didn't.

TBF, he probably didn't realize where it would lead. The mum probably saw it as a sign that he didn't respect her wishes, and so he was CO, too.

I'm not sure the CO of the EGM was as abrupt as she makes it sound. IDK, but I imagine that the argument touched on one of the difficulties that the mum and the EGM had in the past. W/ the birth of her child, the mum was trying to give her mother a chance to be in her life and the child's life, etc. But, no doubt, an old issue came up that set the adult relationships back again. Not saying it was EGM's fault or the mum's, we don't know the circumstances. But my guess is that it was not over a random, isolated issue.

IMO, in a way, it was kind of the mum to let the SGF continue to see the boy. After all, the conflict wasn't his fault, and her child enjoyed SGF. But I can see where it was hard on EGM.

I'm glad the other GM, Jane Jackson, and her DS were reunited w/ his DD. And I think that offers a note of hope to many EGPs. But I'm not sure how XDIL kept the girl from her dad for so long. There's no information on whether he had court-ordered visitation, etc. or if he ever went back to court to try to enforce it. Perhaps there are legal reasons why he was denied visitation? Maybe not, but the info isn't there.

I feel for everyone who is estranged, unless I know they were/are abusive, b/c I realize it can be very painful. But in both stories, there seems to be info missing.

Starlady Sun 06-Oct-19 18:01:03

Also, I get that EPs/GPs can become very depressed. But does anyone ever commit suicide just b/c of this estrangement? Or does it only happen if there are other negative factors, such as preexisting mental health problems or lack of any other loving relatives or friends in their lives? But I'm not estranged, so perhaps I don't fully understand.

These painful results are part of the reason I prefer LC (lowered contact) to NC if someone feels it's difficult to have a certain GP around. But I get that doesn't work for everyone.

Starlady Sun 06-Oct-19 18:23:48

Just thinking... If "hundreds of thousands of children" are estranged from their GPs, perhaps we GPs need to face that reality and be more careful about not arguing with parental decisions, giving unwanted advice, etc. The days where young parents would argue w/ the GPs, gripe to their friends about it, but then go on seeing those GPs as usual are over in many cases. At least the "go on seeing those GPs" part. Same w/ the old ideas of "GPs always break rules and spoil the GC" and "That's what GPs do - give advice based on their experience." Whatever we think about the new attitude, we need to adjust to it or accept that we might get CO (I know not all GPs are CO for these reasons, I'm speaking in general).

Smileless2012 Sun 06-Oct-19 22:41:29

It's not the first time I've heard of an EP/GP committing suicide Starladysad.

Of course there may well have been other contributing factors. Maybe the estrangement is the 'straw that breaks the camel's back' but even then, tragically for some the pain of estrangement is something they cannot live with.

I take your point about awareness needed by GP's when it comes to giving unwanted advice to their GC's parents, but to cut out ones parents and the GP's of your children because of disagreements about child rearing and/or GP's spoiling their GC is an over reaction IMO with heartbreaking consequences.

agnurse Mon 07-Oct-19 02:50:32


It depends. My FIL body-shamed me and our impressionable young daughter, who eventually ended up with an eating disorder (thankfully one that was never severe and she has recovered). I have heard of GPs who insisted on feeding children foods the children were allergic to, on the grounds that they "did not believe in allergies".

One time can be excused and boundaries can be set. But if GPs are continuing to do things in defiance of the parents' boundaries, or insisting on the children keeping secrets from their parents, that's not okay. In that case, at the very least, they should not be having unsupervised time with the GC.

Smileless2012 Mon 07-Oct-19 09:13:16

Body shaming, allowing children to eat foods that they're allergic too and insisting they keep secrets from their parents are clearly abusive behaviours, but those are not what I was referring too when I posted about giving unwanted advice on child rearing and disagreements.

Unwanted advice and disagreements feature in many adult relationships and are not IMO a reason for no contact. P's and GP's can be effectively silenced, their relationship with their AC and GC stunted if they become unable to have and state a point of view for fear of being estranged.

Smileless2012 Mon 07-Oct-19 09:31:19

My GM was horrified when I started DS on solid food. She thought he was far to young as that wasn't how things were done in her day.

My mum was a real pain about potty training, insisting I begin to potty train DS when I knew that neither he or I were ready for the challenge.

They were both strong women who expressed their opinions forcefully and at times were difficult to to deal with, but nothing they ever did or said would have led me believe they should be cut out, because their 'advice' was unwanted.

We need to be sensible IMO when talking about estrangement that we don't muddy the waters. A blatant disregard of a parents' wishes is wrong, we all know that, as is any type of behaviour that puts a child's physical and/or mental health at risk.

Unwanted advice and disagreements fall into a different category. They happen in relationships with family and friends and in the workplace. We need to find mature and sensible ways of addressing them, and walking away from a relationship with your parents for those reasons is neither mature or sensible.

Starblaze Wed 09-Oct-19 09:25:31

I don't think my NM ever gave parenting advice, just said I was a bad parent whenever my children got sick or threw a tantrum etc. I feel like if someone was coming from a place of concern and love then that would always be acceptable. I think the person receiving the "advice" probably knows in most cases whether that "advice" is coming from a good place. There will always be the type of people who won't accept any advice and see it as criticism. Or worse, know they are a bad parent and don't care to listen.

As an example, my NMs assertions rather than advice. She smoked most of my childhood. I also smoked as an adult, never in the house or around the children when I became educated on how damaging that was. I finally quit and was so proud. 6 months later my daughter got croup and my NM said "That's because you smoke". She knew I had quit. For my NM it was never about care for my daughter, just hurting me. She did not show any concern for my daughter at all. That was the first time I ever swore at my NM and hung up the phone on her.

SparklyGrandma Wed 09-Oct-19 09:33:09

According to the BBC, sometime earlier this year on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, there are around a million estranged grandparents in the U.K.

Family estrangement can in itself be the cause of great distress and I am sure, depression.

Compassion is needed for estranged grandparents. They are part of the grandchild’s family too.

Smileless2012 Wed 09-Oct-19 14:44:59

Unfortunately even when unwanted advice does come from concern and love it can be used as a reason for estrangement, and regarded as interference because as you posted Starblaze, some will only see advice as criticism; especially if they're narcissistic.

I think I'm right in saying that in the article Norah provided a link too, one of the contributors puts the figure at nearer 2 million GP's estranged from their GC SparklyGrandmashock.

agnurse Wed 09-Oct-19 16:52:21


I do not know if everyone does this, but I tend to differentiate between one instance of unwanted advice and its being repeated.

Once can be excused, and a boundary put in place. But if someone keeps doing it, after they have been told not to do so, or tells the other person, "Well, that's just how I am, don't expect me to change", that's profoundly disrespectful and I think that would be a valid reason for NC, if it was repeated.

Eglantine21 Wed 09-Oct-19 17:15:26

Sometimes the advice/pressure on the child does come from concern but is damaging none the less.

I have heard grandparents commenting (though that’s too mild a word) to grandchildren on weight: “You’re getting those enormous thighs like you mother.” On intelligence “Well you’ll never be as bright as your brother”. On job prospects “If you don’t work harder at school you’ll just be a shop assistant.” On sexuality “I’m not having a Nancy boy for a grandson. Toughen up.”

Once might be ignorable, but when it goes on and on?

And yet those grandparents would all say they just wanted the best for their grandchildren.

Smileless2012 Wed 09-Oct-19 18:12:26

Well I don't think that's a valid reason for NC agnurse, limited perhaps but not none at all.

I wonder how many AC for example, if they kept doing or saying something to their parents having been told not to do so, would think it appropriate for their parents to go no contact with them.

Our DS still says things that aren't welcomed and does or doesn't do things that we find difficult to accommodate, but we wouldn't go no contact with him.

TBH Eglantine passing a personal comment on someone's appearance, especially in the example you gave isn't IMO coming from concern, it's just nasty. "I'm not having a Nancy boy for a grandson. Toughen up" even more so.

On the first time of things like that being said the person making the remark should be challenged, either by the person on the receiving end if they're old enough to do so, or by their parents if they're not.

Hithere Wed 09-Oct-19 18:29:15

Some of the people who give unwanted advice also expect you to follow it and get mad when you do not.

About estrangement - it is usually about a pattern of behaviour, not just one action or conversation

There is no standard list of reasons to estrangement - if the estranger thinks it is justified, then it is.
What outsiders or the estranged party think doesn't hold any weight on the situation.

Eglantine21 Wed 09-Oct-19 18:33:27

Sadly we’ve had experience of one these comments in our own family. And when challenged the grandparents said they were only doing it for the best. And it didn’t stop because they truly believed they were putting right our failure as parents.

Looking back we should have refused to see them. Not continued to subject our child to their comments. We wouldn’t have let anyone else do that. When something’s said it’s said in a moment and can’t be unsaid.

I still feel bad about it.