Dear Grandparenting: Things are falling apart in my family. It didn’t use to be this way. I guess one thing leads to another and wham! Somebody cuts you off and you’re out in the cold.
My son and youngest daughter are not speaking. They never got along as kids. Then she got drunk and insulted his wife and that finished it. My son got divorced later. He’s not talking to his ex either.
I’m having this problem with my oldest daughter Traci. She stopped talking and texting after we got into it about our politics. We both said things we should not have said. She holds it against me.
More to the point, she is the mother of two small granddaughters that I have not spoken to in eight months and counting. I wrote Traci two letters full of apologies. That got me nowhere. How would you go about fixing this? Kerry Most, Battle Creek, Michigan
Dear Kerry: There seems to be a lot of family estrangement going around these days. People turn on each other over issues including divorce and separation, don’t get along with in-laws, money or inheritance conflicts, religion, politics, ethnic and interracial relationships, sexual identity, and unresolved issues stemming from childhood.
It cuts deep when grandparents have no relationship with their grandchildren. But there’s nothing in the law that gives grandparents an automatic right to see their grandchildren, except in rare occasions when parents put the children at risk.
Families don’t stick together as before. In the past, family bonds were grounded in a sense of duty or obligation. Grandparents are held to higher standards today. Increasingly, the only thing keeping an adult child tied to a parent is whether the adult child wants the relationship.
Rebuilding the relationship begins with accepting and honoring boundaries set by your daughter and give it time to create goodwill. The trick is to swallow your pride and not get emotional because you’re hurt and angry. Don’t try to buy a grandchild’s affection. Never badmouth adult parents. Communicate with grandchildren in any way possible, always keeping it positive.
Grand remark of the week
Darlene Watson from St. Marys, Ohio was checking to see if granddaughter Angelina had done her reading homework assignment.
“OK, what’s the important part?” said Darlene.
“The first line is important,” said Angelina, “and the second line is also very important.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.