The Semi-Detached Parent: Grandparents' Rights

01/04/2011 15:38 | Updated 22 May 2015

grandparentsDid you read about the proposals to give grandparents legal rights regarding access to their grandkids when relationships breakdown?

I had a conversation with my ex's mother recently and she said, as we discussed what had happened with regards to my relationship, and what was happening in terms of future plans, that she 'hoped' she didn't lose contact with me or my son.

I was really taken aback that she even thought 'losing contact' was likely to happen.

We have, as a family, always enjoyed a close relationship, and my son loves spending time with his granny and his aunt and little cousins. To think that just because his dad and I had separated that there was a chance the whole family would become fragmented was awful.

But despite that, I did have a few concerns when I read about the proposals to give grandparents legal rights to access.

Sometimes, for all sorts of reasons, we decide there are people we do not want in our children's lives. We make that decision in their best interest as responsible adults. People do not have to be abusers, or drunks, or drug users or have any other 'outward' undesirable traits to make us decide we do not want our children in their company.

It's a choice based on our own experiences with certain people, and our need to do the right thing by our children. There must be many parents – mums and dads - who have made the decision, probably not lightly, to restrict their kids' access to certain family members.

I wonder how they will feel should these plans become law? If it becomes the case they have to hand their kids over to people who, on paper, might be a pillar of the community, but in terms of family, are not a good or desirable influence on their children?

Luckily for me, my son is blessed with two wonderful sets of grandparents, but I know other children who aren't so lucky, but who, on the face of it, have the picture-book style rocking-chair bound, boiled-sweet-toting grandparents – yet I know their mums would rather cut off their own ears than hand their off-spring over to them, even if it is just for a stroll by the river to feed the ducks.

I can see this 'law' causing all sorts of problems for some families. Can you?

What do you think? Would you fight attempts by your childrens' grandparents to have access?

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