Are you afraid of being cut off from your grandchildren? If so, you’re not alone. Grandparent alienation is a problem affecting families across the country. GRAND Magazine features a monthly column by Susan Hoffman on grandparent rights. You can get a free subscription to Grand Magazine here.
Hoffman founded Advocates for Grandparent Grandchild Connection, a non-profit organization dedicated to reuniting grandparents and grandchildren who become separated due to a change in family circumstance. AFGGC offers free counseling to grandparents who are struggling to reconnect with their grandchildren. The multi-generational organization has chapters around the country that educate the public about grandparents’ rights, advocate for grandchildren, and support grandparents who have suffered from loss of affection and contact from their grandchildren.
The website includes a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help grandparents avoid some of the common mistakes that can lead to break downs in communication between families. Two important ones are respect the parents’ boundaries and follow the parents’ rules.
Hoffman also wrote a book called A Precious Bond:How to preserve the grandparent-grandchild relationship. This self-help book teaches grandparents how to rely on their own resources, which they may not realize they have, as well as some new behaviors that need to be awakened. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing that you can’t change someone else’s behavior. If you want to see a different outcome, you have to change your own behavior.
Losing access to a grandchild can be devastating. You don’t have to suffer in silence or let your ego stand in the way of doing what it takes to be reunited. Hoffman encourages grandparents to start their own support group and provides the resources to help you get started.