The best human relationship after that of a parent and a child is the attachment between a grandparent and grandchildren. Grandparents shower unbiased love and affection over their grandchildren, whether it is their son’s children or their daughter’s children. They do not show partiality in their relationship.
For a grandparent, children exist to be loved and cared for. They pour unlimited love on the children when they are young and the love never reduces, even when the grandchildren become adults.
When there is a break in the relationship for various reasons between a grandparent and their children, it spills over and spoils the bond between a grandparent and a grandchild. Such times are unavoidable between elders, but the emotional attachment between a grandparent and children is so strong that both parties become demoralized, in times of crisis. This may affect the health of the grandparents, more than the grandchildren.
What is the reason for attachment between a grandparent and a grandchild?
- Physical Proximity
The attachment increases when two people are emotionally close to each other. A grandparent is always ready to sacrifice for his/her grandchildren. Geographical distance does not matter for grandparents who are healthy, fit and financially stable.
Today, technology has improved so much that by making a video call, a grandparent can easily contact his/her grandchildren whenever he/she feel like. This frequent contact increases the bond between them, even further.
- Frequency of Contact
Grandparents who meet their grandchildren consistently have more attachment, but physical distance ain’t the sole obstacle for being in touch. When the parent’s relationship breaks and when the couple divorces each other, the whole relationship between the family members take a drastic U-turn.
The most affected is the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. The relationship depends on who gets custody of the children; if the mother gets custody, the mother’s parents are likely to have more contact with the children and if the father gets custody, the father’s parents are likely to have more contact with their grandchildren.
To avoid mismatch, and to help grandparents, children should be allowed to meet both the grandparents. Grandparents and grandchildren do not distance themselves emotionally, irrespective of their parent’s breakup and that should be respected.
- The role of a grandparent
The relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild does not depend on the work they do for their grandchildren. The presence of the grandparent is more important than the work they do for their grandchildren. The attachment between the grandparent a parent and a grandchild is only because of the proximity, and it has nothing to do with the work you do.
- Care for each other
The family members who share and care for each other have a strong relationship between them. People should be ready to share obligations like looking after the kids, financial assistance, and general sharing of work in a house. This care should be mutual and from both sides, and this will increase the bond between family members. Children growing in this type of environment will value the relationship between each other and will have good admiration and respect for their elders.
- Emotional attachment
The grandparents are more attached to their grandchildren than the other way round. Apart from their grandparents, the grandchildren have many other relationships, but the grandparents have nobody, except their children and their grandchildren. Thus, grandparents feel more attached to their grandchildren, more than anybody else. This attachment lives longer than any other relationship in the family. It is also true that when the relationship between the parent and the grandparent is good, every other relationship in the family flourishes.
Why do grandparents ask for custody of grandchildren?
The relationship between the members of a family is good as long as there are no legal problems between the parents of the children. Trouble arises only when the parents separate and when one of the parents gets the custody of the child.
Such times when the relationship between the custodial parent and non-custodial parent takes a spin, the grandparents of both the parents’ demand custody to visit their grandchildren.
Grandparents ask for custody when they are not allowed to meet the grandchildren because of the spoiled relationship between the parents. As per law, the grandparent has the right to ask for custody of their grandchildren.
The judge may consider various options and can take a decision as per the law of the land which varies from state to state and country to country.
However, it is advised to keep the child away from the conflict. The relationship between the child and grandparent does not depend on the relationship between the parent and grandparent, and it doesn’t mean the child shouldn’t see them. It is advisable not to speak ill of the grandparents in front of the child.
If the relationship between the child and the grandparents is good, it’s usually in their best interests to continue it.
Apart from divorce, there may be various other reasons for a conflict between a parent and a grandparent. Some of the reasons may be regarding finance, conflict of interest, disturbing the privacy, drug abuse, and religion issues.
Some of the above issues may not be solvable between the elders, but depending on the seriousness of the problem, the parents should take a decision with regards to the meeting of the grandparent and the child. If there are no major issues, the parents should allow grandparents and grandchildren to meet and should not unnecessarily escalate the problem.
What does the law say about the legal rights of a grandparent?
When a child is given voluntarily to their grandparent, the arrangement should be legally formalized. When grandchildren are taken away from their homes, grandparents should be informed and given a chance to participate in caretaking decisions. Custodial cases by grandparents are legally tough because there is an assumption that children should be with their parents. The bar for proving a parent unfit is quite high. By legally adopting their grandchildren, the grandparents have all rights towards their grandchildren and abide by the grandparents legal rights.