By Susan Hoffman | What can and should you do when a parent wages emotional warfare and your grandchild is caught in the line of fire |
It had been a year since I’d last seen my two grandchildren when I got a text message from my 13-year-old grandson asking to come over. His dad dropped him off at a store, and I picked him up and took him to lunch. During our visit, he told me that he felt his mom was alienating him from me and that he had a right to see and love his grandma.
The parents are divorced and share custody, so whenever my grandson is with his dad, we have contact. His mom (my daughter) has no idea we’ve been seeing each other. He feels at home at my house and often spends the night. He is very angry with his mom. I encourage him to love us both.
His 17-year-old sister, now living with her dad, had an argument with her mom about her mom talking about me. She told her mom she could no longer stop her from seeing me. My granddaughter is also now a part of our lives; as a consequence, her mom cut her off.
My concern is the toll this situation is taking on my grandchildren.
− Grateful Grandma
I understand your concern about emotional welfareb: first, your granddaughter’s consequence of her so-called rebellious decision and the impact it had on her relationship with mom; and second, your grandson’s subjection to his mom’s berating of you along with the secret he bears.
The way to help is what you are already doing: listening to your grandson verbalize his feelings, even the angry ones, and lending encouragement and support.
As products of divorce, the kids live in a disruptive environment where they need as much stability as possible, which, again, is where you come in.
As for your visits with the grandchildren that are kept from Mom, remember that teens are reluctant to share with their parents anyway, and parents don’t always do what’s best for their children. When kids move into adolescence, their decisions carry more weight both in a court of law and socially. It’s a fine line, for sure.
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Susan Hoffman is the author of A Precious Bond and the director of AFGGC, producer of A Precious Bond, the first documentary film about unreasonably denied grandparent visitation. Visit apreciousbond.com for more information or to order the film or book.