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Political Views Cost Grandparents Dearly

Share Your Story: Grandparents Who Have Been Denied Visitation Rights

By Barbara C.

Political Views Cost Grandparents Dearly

My grandkids in happier days

The Situation

Two years ago, my daughter and son-in-law and my husband and I had a terrible argument, mainly about differing political and social views. On a family vacation at the time, they pulled their three children out of bed in the middle of the night and drove ten hours straight to their home in Michigan. Since then, I have seen my 15-year-old granddaughter once and have not seen my two grandsons, ages 13 and 10, at all. I am able to maintain written contact with my granddaughter and that's all.

What I Did and the Outcome

I have tried, unsuccessfully, to heal the rift between us. I have requested that I be able to see the kids, but my daughter always has a reason why I cannot. I live 500 miles away and have made the trip several times over the past two years, only to be told that they were all too busy to see me.

Advice

  • Don't express your political, religious or social views to your children!
  • Try by whatever means you can to maintain some contact with your grandchildren.
  • Don't give up. I think children have a better understanding of a grandparent's value than the parents do. When they grow up, they'll make their own choices and need to know that you still care about them.

If you had the chance, what would you do differently?

Probably not much. I have a right to express my opinions and beliefs and for people to react the way they did shows a high level of immaturity. It is our differences that make us interesting.

Is there anything that eases the heartbreak?

Not really. I cherish the pictures and memories that I have of them. I hope and pray that my daughter will realize how wrong this situation is and fix it. My husband and I are not bad people and love all our grandchildren with our whole hearts.

Susan Adcox, About.com Grandparents, says:

Barbara's story really hit home with me. Fortunately, my children and I have similar political views. In my extended family, however, I have many individuals whose political leanings are diametrically opposed to my own. To keep from permanently impairing those relationships, I have had to remain silent many times when I would have liked to have spoken up. I still don't allow hate-filled speech in my presence without objecting, but I allow many statements to pass that I once would have responded to. While some families can discuss politics without fracturing relationships, others cannot. It's important to know which type of family you belong to. At the same time, one's political and social views spring from one's essential being, and it can be very hard to hide them.

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