Grandparents often play an essential role in their grandchildren’s lives. Still, parents will sometimes use their control over their children as a tool for punishing a grandparent. This harmful behavior is called “grandparent alienation”. The dynamics of each family are different, but for families with divorced parents, the reasons for this behavior may involve a parent seeing the grandparents as siding with the other parent. Perhaps, the parent may also blame the grandparents as responsible in some way for the divorce.
Some symptoms of grandparent alienation:
Here is a list of common examples. Grandparents may see one or more of them when trying to build or maintain a relationship with their grandchildren:
- Demeaning: Parents will denigrate grandparents, reminding the children how bad, unfit, unloving, or uncaring the grandparents are. The parent will encourage the child to think this way as well.
- Inflexible: Parents forbid contact or control contact with rigid boundaries of length or regularity. They may promise visits that they consistently cancel.
- Secretive: Parents do not share information regarding pivotal events in the children’s lives, such as graduation, sporting events, severe illness, or school performance. They may also encourage the children to go along with this behavior. The parents may go so far as to block the grandparents on social media so they do not see updates that other people do.
- Prying: Parents will interrogate the children after a visit to the grandparent, inferring with their concern that it was a waste of time, puts the kids at risk, or implies that the grandparents are a terrible influence.
- Threatening: Parents send or leave threatening messages to stay away from the children.
Grandparents can take action:
If they sense a problem or face opposition, grandparents in Texas generally have the right to apply for visitation privileges. In fact, they can even file for custody if they believe they can show the Court that it would be in the grandchildren’s best interests. Those with questions or concerns about this crucial issue that impacts the lives of young loved ones can contact an experienced, Board-Certified Texas family law expert attorney.