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Why dont adult grandchildren find their estranged grandparents?

(42 Posts)
NanaHev Sat 25-Apr-20 15:40:05

My daughter cut me out of her life and the life of my 2 year old grandson 24 years ago. She had another son 2 years later and wrote to tell me he was born and his name which was one I suggested after the first one was born.
Long story..lets not bother..grandsons grow up and become adults.

What I dont understand is why these estranged grandchildren dont seem to want to find their grandparents. Obviously they have been groomed to think badly of them or to believe they dont exist. Have they no curiosity?

I use ancestry and findmypast to trace ancestry and you often see stories about people find relatives they did not know existed. I also think there are probably grandparents oblivious of their own grandchildren. It seems to me that it is almost fashionable, amongst young people, to have a nana and/or granddad. If they have not why dont they ask....really?

Hithere Sat 25-Apr-20 15:54:52

I think it all depends in what the original reason for estragement was.

There is no one fits all answer

welbeck Sat 25-Apr-20 16:00:28

well i guess you've answered your own question, but i realise the question is largely rhetorical.
what you mean is that you wish your GSs would contact you, in the hope of establishing some kind of relationship.
since you know their names have you tried to contact them; with modern methods and seemingly everyone under ? 50 wanting to tell the whole world the details of their personal and professional lives, it must be easier now than ever before.

tanith Sat 25-Apr-20 16:01:37

If you know where they are why not contact them yourself, they may well of been told that you were the ones who cut contact.

Smileless2012 Sat 25-Apr-20 16:02:32

Sometimes they do NanaHev. A friend of some of our friends GD found her when she was 18. They spoke on the 'phone and eventually met up, still do as far as I know but the GD's mother knew nothing about it.

Some may think badly of their GP's because of what they've been told and if they never knew them that could also explain why they've no desire to find them. It may be different if GC remember the GP's they no longer see and have fond memories of time spent with them.

It might be difficult for some because they worry about their parents' reaction if they do try and find the people their parents' wanted them to have nothing to do with.

We've been estranged for 7.5 years and our only GC are our ES's children. We never really knew the eldest, didn't see him after he was 8 months old and have never seen the youngest.

TBH I don't know if I'd want to hear from them when they're older. To come face to face with one or two young men I don't know, to have that stark reminder of all that we'd missed I would imagine could be pretty painful.

Estrangement does seem to be more common so it could be that our GC have friends who don't see GP's either, so it becomes 'normal'.

I'm sure there are estranged parent's who are oblivious to the fact that they have GC, which may not be a bad thing but I suppose they may wonder if they do.

Eglantine21 Sat 25-Apr-20 16:17:35

I don’t have any experience of estrangement and I don’t want to minimise your pain, but truthfully most twenty somethings are out there busy wth a life of their own and hardly give their parents a thought!

Im afraid you may have to wait a bit longer. When they settle down with a family of their own is when they start thinking about other family ties.

This is when a lot of adopted children start thinking about their birth parents. That’s not the same I know but it’s to do with their own maturity and experiences.

sodapop Sat 25-Apr-20 16:24:34

Lots of reasons I suppose, not wanting to upset their parents being one of them. I think its older people who are more interested in getting to know family. Younger people are involved with their own lives and friends. Quite often when they have families of their own they start thinking about estranged relatives.

FlexibleFriend Sat 25-Apr-20 16:58:02

I'd imagine not being involved with Grandparents for over twenty years growing up makes the Grandparents pretty irrelevant in their lives. I doubt they'd give them a second thought quite honestly.

NanaHev Sat 25-Apr-20 17:17:29

Some very interesting and thoughtful replies. Thank you for that. My daughter married into a family that would hold no truck with any son or daughter NOT cutting themselves off from their families. Weird or what. Plus my daughter never forgave me for divorcing her father. He was never violent to her; just to me and our son. When I tried to explain this to her when she was in her teens she said that her brother and I should have behaved ourselves better!!!!! My daughter was never the brightest light on the Christmas tree and she blamed me for that too. I think this is part of why she has hurt me so much. She blamed me for not being very clever.
I took up the hobby of genealogy when I got and learned how to use a PC. I researched and wrote a book on their ancestry from my line, self published, and dedicated it to my 2 grandsons by their full names. I sent them each a copy and set up a website where they can have a free copy. If they, or anyone else, puts their full name in Google my book will come up. So they know that I was cut out and they know that I have tried to tell them of their ancestors which is part of a grandparents job.
So I think Englantine 21 and sodapop are right. They will take an interest oneday but probably not in my lifetime.

Smileless2012 Sat 25-Apr-20 17:55:38

What a lovely thing to have done NanaHev, and even if your GC access your book after you've gone, you'll have left them with some valuable information about the family they never knewsmile.

Eglantine21 Sat 25-Apr-20 18:00:29

Oh yes. I was adopted and although I knew and loved my birth grandparents, I wasn’t always that interested in their stories and there are so many questions I’d like to ask now that it’s too late.

Susan56 Sat 25-Apr-20 19:04:25

Sometimes grandchildren will get in touch.We didn’t see my nephew or nieces for many years due to a nasty divorce.Out of the blue,about 20 years later my nephew invited us and my mum to his weddingWe are very close to my one niece in particular and see her quite often.We meet up with the rest of them a few times a year.We never forgot them and luckily for us they never forgot us either.Its quite a number of years ago now but even typing this I feel emotional thinking of when we saw them again for the first time.

welbeck Sat 25-Apr-20 19:48:51

well obviously i know nothing about your situation.
but speaking more generally, i think sometimes older people expect too much of youngsters. a neighbour often skypes her children, wants to speak to her GDs, aged 8-9. perhaps because i am the onlooker it is obvious to me that the kids don't really want to be bothered. they are told to speak to granny, who then interrogates them, question after question. they are not interested and don't know what to say. they literally do not know where she is coming from. they are not unkind but it is beyond their ken.
i've tried to gently suggest the neighbour just lets them lead any conversation and not press them so much. but she doesn't see it; i fear she will alienate them. soon they will reach the stage where they simply refuse to be paraded.
re teens/ young adults, it is natural for youngsters to look forward, not backwards, and to be interested in establishing their own lives. they barely take any notice of their parents let alone GPs. their circles of significance are their peers.
older people have a completely different perspective; they are looking backwards, often living on or through their memories.
not that i'm saying there cannot be warm close mutually enjoyable relationships between different generations, but it can't be forced.

Starblaze Sat 25-Apr-20 21:35:47

Too many factors to know. I cut off my mum while my children were old enough to know her but they witnessed her abusing me and she was never interested in them so they want nothing to do with her.

I have an older sister who was adopted who I have never tried to contact. She probably has her own life and own family. If she had wanted to know her birth family my mum left the details for her. She didn't. So even though my mum abandoned her and emotionally abandoned me (sometimes I wonder if it's part of the reason my mum never bonded with me and abused me instead). Anyways. Not my place to try and force myself on her. She may not even be alive as far as I know.

So I guess your grandchildren could know a lot or know nothing. As long as they are happy and healthy, let them be.

Summerlove Sun 26-Apr-20 16:32:57

Sometimes the children remember the stress that the cut off person used to bring into their house. Their parents may have said absolutely nothing about it, but if the child was old enough they could remember that.

They remember how much happier everything was without the stress. Very few people go looking to add stress to their lives

notanan2 Sun 26-Apr-20 16:37:07

You dont miss what you havent had

And family are the people you grew up with, whether your related to them or not.

Sharing genes doesnt make you family. Sharing time as a family group does.

You cant just pluck out the grandchildren and be "family" with them if youre not involved with their family group

notanan2 Sun 26-Apr-20 16:39:05

Sometimes the children remember the stress that the cut off person used to bring into their house. Their parents may have said absolutely nothing about it, but if the child was old enough they could remember that.

This too.
They will remember their parent tensing up if you phoned and going quiet for the rest of the day afterwards.

They know you caused their primary carer stress/upset even if their parent never told them so.

You are not associated with happy family times where the whole family felt love and support from you

notanan2 Sun 26-Apr-20 16:43:39

Re geniology, Its not like contacting an unknown 4th cousin who has no expectations.

I think EGP expect estranged GC to suddenly strike up a GP/GC relationship and they cant! Youre a stranger and youre not in their inner circle.

So a lot will stay away to avoid missmatched expectation issues

Wibby Sun 26-Apr-20 18:27:29

In my experience its because the parents have brainwashed the grandchildren for years!

notanan2 Sun 26-Apr-20 18:41:23

If you saw your loved one distressed and made ill by someone else, you wouldnt like them either. Thats not brainwashing its natural.

What a lot of EGPs dont get is that you hurt the child when you hurt their parent.

You cant expect to pluck the child out of the situation and have a totally fine relationship with them whilst causing their parent to not be able to care as well as they would be able to if not stressed by you making contact

Starblaze Sun 26-Apr-20 18:49:35

My kids remember things I don't. It's awful. I was so used to my mum being horrible I barely noticed it at times.

Witzend Sun 26-Apr-20 18:59:36

I don’t know. I do so feel for relatives whose DiL was always very antagonistic, and cut the GPs off completely after the children’s father died very tragically far too young. I absolutely know the GPs did nothing to deserve it. The children are still relatively young but I do so hope they will make contact one day - and that the GPs will still be alive to enjoy it.
I feel so much for anyone else in this sort of heartbreaking situation.

yorkie20 Sun 26-Apr-20 19:02:28

I have a terrible guilt regarding my grandma.
My grandad died the year before I was born which I was told about when I was a child but my grandmother was never mentioned. I assumed that she too had passed away.
When I was expecting my second child my mother told me that my grandma had died 2 years previously when I was 26 years old.(mum found this out via a chance meeting of a friend) It was a tremendous shock to me as I had always wrongly assumed that she had died either before I was born or soon after. My mother had a family disagreement which started when she was quite young with her mother and it was never resolved. I feel very 'robbed' not having the chance to meet grandma and I still wonder to this day if she thought that I didnt want her in my life. I would have loved to have been able to contact her. (I was her only grandchild) and my mother was her only child.

notanan2 Sun 26-Apr-20 19:04:05

Kids definitely notice more than people think.

E.g. parents who say "oh we NEVER argued on front of the kids" - the kid still know!

Its the same when their parent has problems with the GP. No brainwashing required. Kids pick up on things. They know whats going on. Theyre also less stupid than people give them credit for so not actually that easily "brainwashed".

Kids make up their own minds.

Smileless2012 Sun 26-Apr-20 19:16:58

That's really sad yorkie to feel you were robbed of your GM which I suppose you were. If you don't know that someone you've never met is alive, how can you possibly make up your own mind, if you're denied the opportunity of getting to know them.