Parents Withholding Children From Grandparents

All you need to know for how to stop grandparent’s visitation rights; can a parent deny a grandparent visitation; can I stop my child from seeing her grandparents?; Can parents keep grandchild away from grandparents

The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can be a really special one. They spoil their grandchildren and take them on special trips to create memories the children will remember for a really long time. 

In some cases, parents may decide that they don’t want their children to have a relationship with their grandparents – for whatever reason. 
This can be devastating to grandparents, and they may feel as though what the parents are doing just isn’t legal. 

So, if parents decide to withhold their children from their grandparents what can be done? Is there anything that grandparents can do when this happens so that they can see their grandchildren more often?

Short of having an alternative custody arrangement where the grandparents are primary caregivers for the children, there are not any laws in place that give grandparents rights to see their grandchildren. 

Knowing this, it essentially allows parents to completely determine who they allow into the lives of their children. 

So Do Grandparents Have Any Options?

If parents are really limiting the involvement in their children’s lives, grandparents do have a couple options for trying to spend some time with their grandchildren. 

Grandparents and Grandchildren

More often than not, these options will involve repairing the relationship with their children. Many times there is a strained relationship between the parents of the grandchildren and their own parents (the grandparents) that is causing them to not want the family to spend time together. 

 What if You Can’t Talk to Your Children?

If it becomes really difficult to talk to your children or you find you are not getting anywhere with it, this isn’t the end of your options. 

You can involve a social worker or mediator to help both sides work through the issues and see if they can get you communicating with each other. 

Situations of Child Welfare and Safety

Unfortunately there are some situations where it’s very obvious that the child’s welfare is in question and there may be cause for concern. 

Sometimes parents will cut off access to their children because they are worried that people will try to intervene and take their children away from them. This is a major red flag and is definitely a reason to be more concerned about what is going on with the family. 

If you suspect that this is the case then it’s important for you to seek immediate professional, legal help to evaluate your options and the next steps you should take. 

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Are Parents Right to Deny Access to Their Children?

As noted, there could be an issue within the home and the welfare of the child is called into question. However there is another side to that point as to why parents may deny access. 

To this point, there could be issues between the parent and the grandparent that happened long before the grandchild was ever born. 

This could include abuse, neglect, substance abuse or even abandonment. This isn’t to say that these kinds of issues cannot be resolved with communication and counseling, however it may not happen right away. 

Parents know how they felt when these things happened to them and they don’t want their children to feel the same heartbreak they did. 

For this reason, they are hesitant to allow their parents access to see their children. 

Grandparents having lunch

There could also be cause for concern if grandparents are not respecting the rules and guidelines parents have asked them to follow. All parents have their own way of parenting with ways of doing things that they want to. 

Sometimes grandparents will feel like they know how to do things better or just completely ignore the wishes of the parents because they know best. 

Regardless of raising their own children, respecting the wishes of the parents is paramount. This is their child and they are doing what they feel is best for the child. 

When their wishes are disrespected, it is definitely cause for concern for spending time with their grandparents. 

This can be a legitimate reason for denying access to visit with grandchildren.

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When Parents Separate

The law assumes that grandparents will have access to their grandchildren through the parent who is their child in cases where the parents of the child are no longer together. 

In situations where parents are co-parenting successfully, this is usually not an issue and the two families can co-exist without issue. 

Sometimes, though, when co-parenting is not going well between the two parents it can hinder the amount of time the parents of the non-custodial parent get to spend with their grandchildren. 

It can also happen when the parent with custody moves a long way from where the other grandparents are and it makes it difficult to spend time with each other. 

The non-custodial parent does need to take steps to secure their parental rights and make sure they are following any court-order custody agreements. 

There could be some issues with the non-custodial parent (like drug addiction or perhaps being incarcerated) that would make it difficult for grandparents to go through their child to spend time with their grandchild. 

In these cases, it would be recommended to try and build a relationship with the parent who has custody of the child. It may be a strained relationship for a little while, but it could be worth it. 

Knowing that there is difficulty in the child having a relationship with that parent, maintaining a relationship with the grandparents of that one parent may help them feel like their family is a little more whole and intact. 

This can go a long way for helping the child to build a relationship with the family and give them a secure foundation. 

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Financial Demands

Raising children is expensive and hard to do, so grandparents will often offer to help out with certain financial aspects to make life a little easier for their children. They want to make sure their grandchildren are able to enjoy life. 

Knowing this, children will sometimes take advantage of this and come to rely on this extra financial help from their parents. 

Does this make it ok? Can your children deny access to your grandchildren unless you keep helping them financially? 

There is no legal expectation that you would help provide for your grandchildren, but there isn’t anything that says your children have to give you access to grandchildren either. 

They may threaten to not allow you to see your grandchildren unless you continue to give them money or pay for their lifestyle.

Before lending them money initially or the first time you help them pay for something, consider how this might change the dynamic of your relationship with your children. If you are worried about what could happen, seriously reconsider lending them money or helping them out. 


The key to any health relationship is open and honest communication. Many disagreements come from unmet expectations and miscommunications. 

If you feel as though your children are withholding your grandchildren from you then try to talk to them. 

grandparents talking to their grandchildren

There could be a very reasonable explanation or perhaps this was not their intent. 

Do your best to make sure you are not accusing them directly or pointing fingers at them. They may feel threatened and double down on denying you access to your grandchildren. 

Ask to spend more time with them, volunteer to babysit if you want to. However it is that you are able to spend more time with them this can help open up the doors to a better relationship with your family. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that there is a difference between regular family disagreements and being regularly denied access to your grandchildren. 

Every family goes throughs disagreements as not everyone will always agree on everything. Doing your best to work through any disagreements you have with open communication can help everyone move past it.

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Final Thoughts

If you believe the welfare of your grandchildren is in question then it’s important to trust your gut and get the professional and legal advice you need to make sure they are well cared for. 

As long as your grandchildren are being well cared for, take the time to assess the situation and determine if there is an obvious reason as to why your children may be withholding your grandchildren from you. 

You want to spend time with grandchildren as much as possible so if your children are not willing to have them spend time with you then it’s time to talk to your children about why it is and what’s going on. If there is a way for you to fix it and work through the issues they’re experiencing then it’s important to do so. 

The relationship with your children is an important one to maintain – especially as they grow up and have children of their own. Do your best to work within their rules and guidelines, even if you don’t like them. 

As you work through the issues and concerns you’ll be surprised as how your relationship blooms!