Gransnet forums


Grandparents rights

(75 Posts)
inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 13:00:09

Im not a grandparent but im trying to understand this.

If you child and his or her partner have decided they no longer wish contact, why would you want to put them and their children though going though court, inspections and social worker meetings just to please what it is you want?

Why can it not be that you respect your own childs wants and respect their parenting?

I ask purely because I can see this as something someone in our family may well do purely because they dont see the child/children enough, yet we as a family have the right to be able to enjoy our lives without having to worry that every saturday is nannys day when working parents may only get those two days a week with their own children.

How would alot of you of felt if you was forced to hand over your child/children everyweek to your parents or your inlaws just because they felt it was their right to see the child with no thought to your work and home lifes? Never being able to have a 2week holiday because sorry ken nanny wants you this saturday. Never be able to move for a better paying job without having to worry about grandparents wanting their access which may be a 4/6hour drive away but are unwilling or unable to come to yours so ontop of work you now have to spend a whole day everyweek driving to drop your child off so you dont even see them that day?

Those parents who work 6days a week and get just 1 day with their own child yet grandparents want that day?

Anagram Wed 21-Mar-12 13:04:26

I am speechless!

All I can say is, it's pretty obvious that you aren't a grandparent, Inbetween...

glassortwo Wed 21-Mar-12 13:07:04

Troll alert I think.

inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 13:24:25

Not a troll real question as in why would you put what you want before looking at your own childs happiness rather than long drawn out court battles.

I said im not a grandparent which is why im asking grandparents why they would do this, as I dont understand why anyone would want to put their own fleash and blood though all of that

JessM Wed 21-Mar-12 13:46:26

Many of us view it as more a case of children's rights to have a relationship with both sets of grandparents. There are a lot of vindictive ex-wives in the world I am afraid who use prevention of access to fathers and grandparents on the other side as a way of expressing their anger. This is not in the children's interest. Just because the parent with the child in residence would like to cut the ex and all their family out of their lives, does not mean this is in the children's best interests.
I am not one of the members in this situation but I think it is every grandparent's fear that they will be cut off from their grandchildren. Mine emigrated and that was bad enough.
If you have children of your own, one day you will have grandchildren maybe and find yourself loving them as intensely as you do your own children. You will probably poo-pooh that statement - but just wait and see if it happens to you before you judge.
The pain of being separated from such much loved grandchildren is very intense. So while children's rights come first then, unless the grandparents have a history of child abuse, they too should have some rights of access. Not every other weekend - but a reasonable amount including, for school age children, overnight stays during school holidays.

nightowl Wed 21-Mar-12 13:53:40

inbetween I do understand your frustration but I think you need to take a step back. Both morally and legally the situation is not about grandparents' rights but about the child's right to have a full and meaningful relationship with all members of his or her family while growing up. Children are not the property of parents but little people in their own right, and different generations have so much to offer. You may actually benefit from grandparents' involvement in your children's lives, and your children may thank you one day for enriching their lives while they are young.

petallus Wed 21-Mar-12 13:54:46

JessM there may well be vindictive ex-wives around but there are also vindictive and stalking ex-husbands who use the children to try to continue to control their wives after the wives have left the marital home. And what about those sad cases where one partner injures or kills the children in order to get back at the partner who has left them? Usually (though not always) the father.

Inbetween I think you have misunderstood some of the threads. Usually we hear from grandparents who do not see their grandchildren because of a split between the parents with one parent losing contact and hence the grandparents on that side do as well.

Otherwise, yes, maybe some grandparents can be a bit on the demanding side.

nightowl Wed 21-Mar-12 13:55:33

JessM looks as though we were posting at the same time!

inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 13:56:44

Thank you JessM for your open honest answer, I can totally understand if the parents have split and then the other parent is being denied because then the other parent cannot even have the option of letting their parents see the child.

I dont poo at your line about when I have grandchildren, but I hope I would respect my own children enough to understand and respect what they want and hope that they once the child is old enough make up their own mind as to if they want to see me as a grandparent that my own children would then respect what their children want.

I guess as I have seen first hand the arguments I have seen a set of grandparents cause in the family home between the parents due to the grandparents total lack of respect for how they want to raise their children and how the grandparents have used the children to get what they want, without ever giving back ( to stubborn to go and visit,make comments on how they thought everyone had died because they had not seen said family for 1week, telling the children to ignor mum and dad because they know best, not bringing children back home on time etc) , a little hard to understand why in such cases when it is the grandparent at fault why they should be allowed to be given by law with no thought as to how that will affect the whole familys home life access.

nelliedeane Wed 21-Mar-12 14:01:48

inbetween I think the long drawn out court battles arise from something other than just ordinary access,that is for families to discuss amongst themselves and come to a mutually agreeable arrangement.
Courts decide on access if parents..not grandparents cant agree on the arrangements.
grandparents in law do not have rights at the moment,wether that will be dealt with in future I do not know...all I can say is if and when you have children,talk and listen to both sides there may be other steps so that both sides are happy if there is a long distance involved...we as grandparents have all been young and inexperienced brides and parents and can relate to the feeling of trying to please everybody it takes give and take on both sides.But will say the needs of the child should be paramount and based on their rights not families who dont agree..I would look at what is in the childs best interest,I dont think anyone would disagree with that.

inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 14:01:55

Thank you everyone yes I have noticed on here it does tend to be when parents split up, but im guessing grandparents even when the mother and father are still together go down this route.

As I said in my last post when the grandparents can only be bothered when on their terms and show no respect for the parent/parents I can understand why the parents would want to pull back as much as possible.

I have my own situation with inlaws however I still make sure they see the children every week even if its not every 2days like they want and overnight, that it inselfs makes arguments in our house and both me and my partner could not stand to be around his parents much more than that once a week. However we are there for every family party/meal/birthday, not always because we want to however but because we feel partly forced to in the fact that if we do not they might take us to court to get to see our children more than my own partner gets to see them with his working hours.

Carol Wed 21-Mar-12 14:39:20

Grandparents right? No? The right of the child to see their grandparents. Not in a 'hand 'em over and begrudge it every Saturday' sort of way, but appropriate and meaningful, for the wellbeing of the child, and in a collaborative way. Children denied their previous regular contact with loving grandparents would wonder why they didn't make the effort if contact was disrupted, and occasionally that effort leads to a request to court.

Loving parents who see that grandparent contact is damaging and disruptive for their children have every right to ensure this isn't continued. It should be sorted out so contact can be enjoyable, but if such grandparents don't try to fit in to reasonable requirements about contact with the child, then they have the right to choose whether contact should continue.

It's all about being reasonable and sensible, and we all know that the child is not always able to express their wants and needs, nor to make adult decisions about what is in their best interests.

Anyone grandparent who takes their family to court in order to see their grandchild should not be doing it on the basis that it doesn't suit them to only see the child a few times a year - it's for the ones who are unreasonably denied contact.

Mishap Wed 21-Mar-12 14:40:46

Just as there are good and bad parents, I am sure that there are also good and bad grandparents. inbetween is describing her experience which does not seem to be good.

Being a grandparent is a bit of a tightrope walk, and knowing when to stay silent and stand back or when to be involved is an art that it takes some of us a while to learn - so families may need to bear with us.

In the main grandparents are caring and do love their GC fiercely - my DDs always say how wonderful it is that their children have so many people who love them as much as they do. They know that if they are left with us, we would defend them with our lives.

It is sad that relations with the grandparents are a problem for you - it sounds as though you and your OH have a bad relationship with that set of grandparents anyway, independently of the children. That is what needs to be resolved - or acknowledged as something that is beyond resolution.

Maybe you should play it cool - go with the flow when contact is inevitable in order to avoid too much conflict, which is bad for everyone. grit your teeth and then move on.

The court only ever gets involved if their is a complete breakdown of relations - and court involvement is extraordinarily rare. Most GPs would only consider this step when they have already had a relationship with the child and breaking that is to the child's detriment. This usually happens when there is a marital split.

You have had a bad experience - I am sorry about that - but mostly parents appreciate the presence of their own parents in their children's lives, and there is no doubt that interacting with different generations is enriching for children and adults too.

JessM Wed 21-Mar-12 14:47:28

Yes I am sure inbetween some Gps are a pain in the proverbial.
And of course some ex husbands more than that.

inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 14:59:47

Thank you all again, yeah we do the grit teeth and bare though it, although one of my children even says they only have one nice nanny which is very sad.

My self,my partner, my mother and another of the Inlaws have discused getting a adult only meeting to discuss the problems however nothing has come of that yet and it was first mentioned over a month ago. It just feels that its all give on our end for fear of upsetting the grandparents and ending up in court. I would love for my children to have a meaningful relationship with both grandparents however one set use it as a chance to show of how great they are and force play and a relationship when the children dont seem to like them that much.

Think crying when they see them, saying nanny X is a nasty nanny, that nanny X does not let them keep their pressents, forcing the child to play with a certain toy when the child does not wish to, and thats just in relation to the child alone let alone whats said to us and the undermining of us as parents and as a couple alone.

I dont want to say to much incase said grandparents are a member on here as they have busted me on another forum before and brought up things I have said to use agasint me. Just by searching my name/my childrens names.

Carol Wed 21-Mar-12 15:16:14

I get the picture inbetween and it sounds like these grandparents have much to learn. Would they respond to an utimatum of 'get things improved or we are reluctant to see as much of you?' Refusing contact is drastic and if they knew that could happen, or even had a little taste of what some of us have experienced, I guess they would be devastated and want to avoid that as much as possible

It seems there may still be room for manoevre and they have some hard lessons to learn about appropriate behaviour. If you have tried all that, perhaps telling them they will see the children intermittently, but it all depends on their attitude, may reap some results. Please, on behalf of all grandparents denied contact, don't cut yourselves off without trying everything first. Losing contact with grandchildren can be heart-wrenching and the grief that is experienced is terrible.

inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 16:04:10

Yeah would respond but not in a good way it would be more of a court/cut out of will/crying phone calls and emotional blackmail.

If we have not been round for a week we get a worried phone call to check we are not dead. Then when we do go round the next week it look how big X is hasnt she/he grown so much its been ages since we saw him/her!

We have pulled back a bit in terms of contact but still see them and we dont let them have them unsupervised if we can help it but then everytime we try to give back because they havent broken any rules so to speak they bring him back 2hours late. Whats the old saying Give an inch and they will take a mile. Thats really them.

They wont come to our house because in our home it is our rules or get out so they dont like it, as they cannot push us and get away with it.

We got so much emotional blackmail over christmas because we wanted the day to ourselfs as our own little family unit for just one year and messages saying well the kids can have their pressents when you bother to come to us then, making it about them rather than letting the children enjoy their christmas day, In the end to get our children to be able to have their pressents we told them we where locking the door christmas eve and not coming out till the new year, cue angry messages and them finally giving in, to witch we responded by telling both sets of grandparents they can come for an hour christmas morning, when said nanny did turn up she had such a sour face on and sat away from everyone because the other grandparents where also here so rather than enjoying her grandchildren she was moody and ruined a lovely feeling in the morning because she did not want to share.

I always act friendly enough to them, SILS partner did not enough realise there was an issue between us because we dont let the children see it as its not fair on them to take our problems as their own, she also gets moody because we dont give her a mothers day card from the children. I talk to SIL about it and she agrees we all need to sit down but so far she wont do it.

Carol Wed 21-Mar-12 16:47:05

inbetween I get the impression you have been dragged into power games, when you talk about getting the children to be able to have their presents, so you told them you were locking the door on Christmas Eve and not coming out till New Year, resulting in angry messages and them giving in.

I would set clear, reasonable boundaries if they won't have the discussion, otherwise it seems you are getting pulled in to game-y behaviour in which one party or the other perceives they are 'losing.'

Everyone wins when the parents and gransparents are collaborating for the benefit of the children.

inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 17:08:19

Yes it does appear that way Nanny always wants to be boss and always wants things her way which results in me and my partner pulling back and I guess trying to show we are adults and dont need her permisison for something which does result in a power struggle.

The same with the fact she wont come to our house as she has no power in our house apart from at christmas when she did come round.

She has become an adult a mother and a grandmother being constantly told she is right and what she says goes and anyone who questions that is mad or wrong.

I was brought up that yes you respect those around you/older than you however that they also need to respect you.

Because when she grew up they had many christmas days in grandparents houses etc she feels we need to do the same where as we want our children to grow up having one christmas day and also not that santa also left pressents here for you behaviour. We dont mind late pressents but they have gone out of their way on past christmas days to bring 3 pressents and leave pressents for the children and my partner at her house for when we next go round, partner refused to open them, the children opened theirs and where then told they could not take their pressents home.

I think maybe she has a bit of case of empty nest so to speak both her children are grown up and pulling away from her however she does not seem to understand or want to believe its her behaviour that is making everyone pull away.

The childrens grandad also gets stuck in the middle in of this he will agree with something me and my partner have said but nanny looks over at him with a sour face and he has to jump to protect her later on then saying he agreed with us. Everyone has pandered to her every move so much she does not seem to be able to see past herself and her wants.

I hate the power struggle so to speak it makes everything uneasy and as you said there can only be one "winner" which when me and my partner agree with each other she has no option but to be the "loser" which then make her more determined for next time.

Now she has even sent other family members to me to ask on her behalf if she can have the children where if I then say no I or my partner look nasty, because we are not about to tell those who do think she is perfect everything we find wrong with her as that would show a total lack of respect from our side.

The other grandparents are here as much as we want or as little as we want they respect we need time as a family to ourselfs and that my partner works long hours so if they want to visit every day per say they will come when my partner is at work so they are not taking time away from him with the children. I just dont understand why the other nanny finds it so hard to respect us and stop this stupid power struggle/head women stuff as its really wearing thin after many years with her son.

We are expected to want to "dump" our children with them all the time one example is if we have popped in and said we have to go we are going shopping everytime its leave the children here, she will try and bath them most time we go round, and ok its nice but always makes some remark about dinner as if we dont have our own food and cooker and we dont feed our children when she knows we will of eaten as its about half an hour from the childrens bedtime.

Sorry for all the very long replys it is nice to hear from people who dont know us personally but are also grandparents as an outside person

JessM Wed 21-Mar-12 17:15:38

Oh dear. She needs to get a life, as they say, poor woman.

Annobel Wed 21-Mar-12 17:17:17

When I read our book of the month (Joanna Trollope's Daughters in Law) I thought she was exaggerating. Evidently not. This is taking possessiveness to a new level, it seems. Could she be, by any chance, menopausal and suffering (sub-consciously) from the realisation that she is past childbearing?

nightowl Wed 21-Mar-12 17:28:49

inbetween Having read on I see that I was too hasty in my first post and it does sound as though the grandparent in question has her own issues. I agree with others that you have every right to impose boundaries on the contact particularly as this seems to be having a negative effect on your child(ren). You have obviously done everything possible to maintain the contact but it seems that is still not good enough in their eyes, so I wouldn't make any more attempts to please them but do what's right for you. I suggest that instead of feeling you always have to go to them you could also invite them to your house sometimes, giving them every opportunity to see their grandchildren, and if they refuse it's their loss. You could just respond along the lines 'what a shame you can't make it'. Don't apologise, don't negotiate, just be consistent and firm. She sounds like an indulged child and maybe it's time for you to be the adult.

I don't think you have any reason to worry that the court will become involved - the grandparents have no grounds to take the matter to Court and no automatic rights anyway. Good luck!

Carol Wed 21-Mar-12 17:41:56

Good points nightowl and I would just add - please, please, don't punish her by stopping her seeing the children altogether. She hasn't committed any crime, obviously does care very much about them, but hasn't a clue about how to be unselfish. She's struggling because you are challenging her and setting boundaries - she doesn't need to be punished for being a real pain in the backside. It's those who are abusers who do. flowers

Mishap Wed 21-Mar-12 17:58:48

Nightowl is correct in saying that grandparents have no rights - so don't let the threat of court worry you. Is this said openly? - does she threaten this?

I can identify a little with your situation - though to nothing like the same degree - as my Mum was a difficult lady who ruled my Dad with a rod of iron. There was a time when she upset me greatly by using one of my children in a battle she was having with my father - it reminded me so much of the way that I spent my childhood as a pawn in the game! I could not bear it and we did not see my parents for some time - I just withdrew from the situation. They eventually rang up and asked why we had not been in touch and I was very clear - I said that it was not acceptable to me that they should argue in front of my children. There was a lot of bluff and bluster ("Well, everyone argues sometime") but Mum knew what I was talking about really - the constant undermining and sniping that is very different from a genuine argument.

They never argued in front of my children again. Relations were a bit strained - but....I had set the rules for my children and, if they wanted to have a relationship with them, they had no choice but to abide by those rules. That might sound harsh, but my job was to protect my children from harm.

I knew that she loved the GC and setting the rules paved the way for her to have a relationship with them - they eventually had a good relationship with her (better than mine in fact!) and she became a good grandma - they were all sad when she died and paid moving tributes to her at the funeral.

You are right to set any boundaries that you feel protect your children. But you also need to try and keep the peace a bit - us women usually finish up doing this!! Invite them over - if they don't come that's up to them. "Sorry I cannot come over, but you are welcome to visit here on" If she doesn't like it then that's just tough. Stick to your rules for your children. Don't let her rile you with her comments about food/bath! - just let it wash by! Make a joke of it with the children! - a bit of humour goes a long way. Keep the door open but don't be intimidated. I am sure you can find a way.

Good luck!!

inbetween Wed 21-Mar-12 18:24:59

She has never openly said it however when ever there has been a newspaper story that page is always left wide open infront of us.

She has been past her having babies days for many years since before I met my partner.

Im more than happy for her to come round aslong as my partner is here otherwise I fear I may open my mouth and tell her exactly how I think she is and I dont want that infront of the children or to be mid arguement. That needs to be a adult friendly chat.

She has my mobile number and the landline number to call us yet she wont speak to me on the phone only my partner.

I dont intend to fully ever stop contact just cut it back somewhat, me and my partner did have a bit of a blow out on mothers day about her, I wanted to see my mum so I did and I told him to go and visit his mum while I was at my mums, he wanted to take the children with him where as I wanted the children with me on mothers day. I did not want to see her as I did not want her remarks to ruin another mothers day for me.

I will get my partner to ring them and invite them around for a sunday dinner this week and see if they accept so far out of many invites of sunday dinner it has been accepted once where they then continued to moan about the cooking little did they know it was my partners cooking and they tought him! So he was very upset that day. Just had a little giggle to myself however as the last time she came round before christmas she started folding my underwear to put away!