Should I Let My Estranged Relatives Have Contact With My Children?
SHOULD I LET MY ESTRANGED RELATIVES HAVE CONTACT WITH MY CHILDREN?
By Rev. Renee Pittelli
Whether we make the choice to cut ties with our abusive families, or they disown us, sooner or later many of us will face the dilemma of whether or not to allow our children to continue seeing our families even though we will not be included. This is a subject that many of us are conflicted over. I have probably had more conversations and received more e-mails about this one particular aspect of being estranged from our birth-families than any other.
Some of us might be surprised to hear that we have the option of not allowing our families to have contact with our children. We’ve heard of “Grandparents’ Rights”, and some of our families have even threatened to sue us for visitation. Now, I am NOT a lawyer and I strongly urge you to consult with one if you have any doubts. However, my understanding of this issue is that if you were divorced or widowed and denying your ex-spouse’s parents visitation with your children, they could sue you for Grandparent’s Rights, and might or might not win. BUT, if you are denying YOUR OWN parents visitation, it is my understanding that the court will not go against you and what you feel is best for your children, knowing your own parents as you do.
Besides the cases I have read about, I have also heard Dr. Phil discuss this on his show, and his view, after his decades of court experience, is also that nobody has any rights at all to anybody else’s children. If a parent believes it would be detrimental to her child to have contact with certain people, the parent has every right to protect her child and to control who the child sees or doesn’t see.
In my own experience, I have heard of several abusive relatives threatening to sue for visitation, including my own birth-father, but I have never seen one actually do it. I would think that the last thing abusers would want is for all their dirty laundry to be aired in court. In my own case, when my father made this threat, I told him to go right ahead, and that I would welcome the opportunity to tell the truth about his abusive behavior and all the things he had done to his family. I also mentioned that I would be sure to invite every friend, relative and neighbor I could think of to the proceedings- and even the local newspaper and TV news reporters if they thought it would make an interesting story. After all, I wasn’t the one who had anything to hide. Needless to say, I never heard another word from him about “Grandparent’s Rights”. I guess sometimes you just have to call their bluff.
So again, check it with your own lawyer if you like, but as far as I know, you have every right to decide whether or not you should allow your birth-family to see or talk to your kids.
With prayer and perhaps some counseling, each of us needs to come to our own conclusions on this issue. Because I so often find myself involved in this conversation, I’ve come to realize that, again with prayer, this is something we need to address in our ministry and an appropriate subject for an article. So I will tell my own testimony regarding this situation with my children and abusive birth-family, and share with you some of my thoughts. As always, I urge you not to make any decisions about your own situation based on what I write, but to seek counseling and pray about it first.
Before continuing, I do need to clarify one thing. If your birth-family was, or still is, emotionally, verbally, psychologically, or even physically abusive to you, whether or not you allow your kids to continue seeing them is an issue you might feel you need to think over. However, if your parents or siblings sexually molested you in any way, I don’t believe there should be any doubt that you would not allow them access to your children, especially without you there to supervise. The presence of other family members is not enough- if they failed to protect you from the family pedophile when you were a child, then they can hardly be trusted to keep your kids safe from him now. If there is a sexual predator in your family, your children should never be in his or her presence unless you are there to watch them like a hawk. So if this is your situation and you and your birth family are currently not on speaking terms, then it goes without saying that they cannot have access to your children, either.
That being said, the more typical question or e-mail that we receive involves other types of abuse, and goes something like this:
“I no longer have contact with my parents due to their ongoing abuse and refusal to change their behavior. I am uncomfortable letting my children see them without me. My parents tell me I am “dragging my kids into it” and “punishing my kids” by not letting them see them. But why should I expose my kids to their behavior when I no longer allow myself to be exposed to it? I would be just as bad a mother as my own mother if I didn’t protect my children from them.”
“My birth-family has disowned me after I started setting limits on their control and abuse. But for some reason they think they should still be able to have contact with my children even though they are not on speaking terms with their mother. They are telling all the relatives that I’m keeping them from seeing or talking to my kids. I don’t even know how it would be possible for them to see my children without also seeing me. Am I supposed to drop the kids off on a street-corner and drive away so my parents can pick them up? How can we make arrangements for them to see my children if they’re not speaking to me? Are we supposed to send messages back and forth by carrier pigeon?”
“My estranged parents say that I’m using my kids to get back at them. But I feel as if they’re trying to use my kids to get at me. They say I’m “putting my kids in the middle”, but I think they’re trying to put my kids in the middle by making such an issue of seeing my kids without me. Our problems are between them and me. My kids have nothing to do with it and I don’t want them involved.”
“My mother couldn’t have cared less about seeing or talking to my children as long as we were on speaking terms. But now that we no longer speak, all of a sudden, having contact with my children is a big deal. My kids hardly know her because she never had any interest in them before. I feel she is only interested in them now so she can use them to maintain contact with me and find out what’s going on in my life. They’re the only way left that she can get to me.”
“My family cut me off for refusing to be controlled by them any longer. At first, I let my children see them without me. Now I found out that they’ve been questioning my kids about me, criticizing me to my kids and saying that I’m “disrespectful” and “not much of a family-person”, telling my kids “their side of the story”, and asking my kids if they’d like to spend the whole summer with them or come and live with them. They have been pressuring the kids to tell me they want to spend the summer there. Now my children are nervous and upset about seeing them at all because they’re afraid their grandparents are going to try to keep them, and take them away from me. I thought it would be good for my children to know their grandparents even if I didn’t have a relationship with them, but it seems to be doing a lot more harm than good.”
HOW MUCH CAN THEY REALLY LOVE AND CARE ABOUT A CHILD WHEN THEY TREAT THE CHILD’S PARENT LIKE DIRT?
Some estranged relatives regard staying in touch with their victim’s children as if it was some kind of sick competition. Some have a “divide and conquer” mentality, figuring that they can influence the child to see her own parent as the “bad” one if they can somehow keep themselves in the child’s life long enough to show her that they are the “good” ones. Others seem to think that they can hurt a child by abusing his mother, and then require that he not resent them for it.
Some think that they are the only ones entitled to decide who talks to whom in the family- and that they can punish their own child by ostracizing or disowning her, while still claiming the right to have contact with her children. They believe that they can pick and choose whom they will have contact with, whether their contact is welcomed by the other party or not. They refuse to acknowledge that anyone else has a choice, and that others also have the same freedom to decide with whom they wish to associate.
There are those who just assume it’s their God-given right to have access to their grandchild while circumventing and eliminating the child’s parent. In their haste to prove to their child that they “don’t need her” to carry on a relationship with their grandchildren, few abusers consider or care about what is really good for the children. The kids’ best interests often get lost in the shuffle, their point-of-view is rarely sought out, appreciated, or respected, and they are often discouraged, either overtly or subtly, from expressing their true feelings.
Even if both estranged parties have all good intentions, which, let’s face it, is rarely the case, I feel that it is neither practical nor realistic to think that children can continue to have contact with someone who is not speaking to their mother (or father). I also don’t believe it’s desirable or healthy for the child in any way. Further, in almost every discussion I’ve ever had on this subject, the parents all felt the same way I do.
In all practicality, a grandparent who no longer speaks to her own daughter (or son) is only deluding herself if she thinks she can continue to have a relationship with her daughter’s children that doesn’t include their mother. I have known quite a few who have attempted this, but I have never seen it work.
MY TESTIMONY-SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS TO CONSIDER, SO MANY DIFFERENT THOUGHTS RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD
In my own personal situation, I tried to consider this dilemma from all angles. I tried to weigh how and to whom it would be beneficial to allow contact, and how it might be harmful. Sometimes I felt like so many different thoughts were swirling around in my head that it was difficult to make sense of it all, but I will try to share my thoughts with you here as completely as I can.
ASSESSING MY KIDS’ REAL FEELINGS AND THE PREDICAMENTS THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE TO FACE
How could my sons spend time with my parents without the subject of Me coming up? How could they relax and enjoy themselves with my birth-relatives when I was left out, and so conspicuously absent from the gathering? How much fun would it be for them when this black cloud of confusion, hurt, and unanswered questions was over their heads? Were they supposed to watch everything they said, and try not to even mention me? Were they supposed to stick up for their Mom, and become targets of my parents' rage or spitefulness themselves? This was way too big a burden to put on my kids.
When my father banned me from his house for 'interfering' by trying to get medical care for my mother, he informed me that my husband and sons were welcome, but I wasn't. I told him I didn't know what planet he was from, but my husband and kids only visited him for my sake. If I wasn't there, they weren't going to go on their own. He smugly told me that when they turned 18, I couldn't stop them.
Well, I guess Mom knows best. They were 13 and 16 then, they're 22 and 25 at this writing, and they have never once expressed an interest in seeing him ever again. In fact, at first they seemed quite relieved that he was finally out of their lives. Now, they hardly remember him, or my mother or sister either, because none of these people ever chose to have much to do with them when they were young and were never a major factor in their lives. You can’t miss what you never had.
Whatever memories my sons do have of their grandfather are all bad. They put up with his belligerence and hostility at everything from their birthday parties to football games to school concerts to Christmas. So many of what should have been happy occasions for them were ruined. They watched their mother being hurt, upset, and abused throughout their childhoods, just like I did, and I can tell you from the perspective of a kid who's been in that position, that it doesn't endear you to the person who hurts your mother.
WHAT GOOD REASON WOULD THERE BE FOR EXPOSING MY KIDS TO PEOPLE AND BEHAVIOR THAT I WOULD NO LONGER EXPOSE MYSELF TO?
I also did not see how, as a parent, I could justify exposing my children to behavior which I myself chose not to be exposed to any longer. What kind of a mother would I be to send my kids into the middle of the hornet’s nest full of sarcasm, nastiness, criticism and hostility while I myself stayed at a safe distance and wasn’t even there to protect them? I felt then, and I still feel, that that would have been pretty despicable on my part.
What would motivate me to do that, other than my own fear of being badmouthed by my parents for keeping them from my kids? But my children trusted me to protect them. How selfish of me it would have been to betray them just so I could look like I was doing the “right thing”. How could I send them off like sacrificial lambs, just so my parents couldn’t complain about me or badmouth me for keeping my kids from them? How could I do to my children what my mother had always done to me- sacrifice their welfare and feelings to make my own life easier or to make myself “look good”? Was I going to put the approval of unimportant people before my own kids, like my mother did? What was more important- doing right by my kids or looking good to people who were so evil they wouldn’t know “good” if they tripped over it?
The fact is, whether or not I allowed them to see my children, my parents would have, and did, find plenty to badmouth me about. Because in reality I had done nothing wrong and they had nothing bad to say about me, they simply made up lies. Never expect an abuser to be honest and tell the truth about your estrangement or anything else. If I had allowed them continued access to my children, it would not have stopped them from lying about me and gossiping to other people anyway.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED FROM PAST HISTORY ABOUT JUST HOW MUCH MY BIRTH-RELATIVES REALLY CARED ABOUT MY KIDS AND THEIR WELL-BEING?
Many controllers or abusers turn seeing our kids into just another control issue or form of abuse. My own parents didn’t care any more about my sons or their feelings than they cared about me. If they did, they wouldn’t have chosen their birthdays or holidays to pick fights, or done something to ruin almost every special occasion or big day that my children had. And you don’t show a child how much you love him by abusing his mother- especially not right in front of him.
When I was expecting her first grandchild, my mother informed me that she would not be babysitting. When my parents did me the “favor” of watching my first son when I was in the hospital giving birth to their second grandchild, they used the occasion to control and abuse me (see the article “The Price of Independence” on our site for the full story). Grandparents-Of-The-Year they were not, and never would be.
As for my birth-sister, she was so jealous that I had kids and she didn’t that she didn’t even come to see them when they were born. She never attended a single birthday party or other big event in their lives, never asked about them, and only saw them once a year at Christmas (see the article “Family Jealousy- The Shameful Secret Behind Abuse And Betrayal” on our site for the rest of this story).
So, after 16 years of basically ignoring my sons, it was only AFTER my relationship with my birth-family ended that having contact with my children suddenly became so important to them. Why??? It’s simple- so they could use my sons to maintain a connection to me. They knew I had achieved my freedom and gotten out from under their control. Now that we weren’t on speaking terms, they wouldn’t have any other way of knowing what I was up to or what was going on in my life unless they found a way to get their foot back in the door. They were never going to see me again if they didn’t come up with a plan. So instead of a nice, honest plan, like a genuine apology and change in behavior, which would have been out-of-character for them, the devious, underhanded, manipulative plan which was their usual trademark, was getting to me through my kids.
In addition, the logistics of dropping off or picking up the kids, or even talking to them on the phone (no e-mails back then), would have necessitated my involvement, which would have meant continued opportunities for my parents to see me, criticize me, snub me, berate me, or otherwise demonstrate their disapproval, or perhaps to even “break the ice” and break down my resolve to stand up to their abuse, so that everything could eventually go back to normal without them having to apologize or commit to any changes. They didn’t want to see my kids because they loved them and missed them, since, by their own choice, they hardly saw them when we WERE talking, and they had ample opportunity. They only wanted to USE my kids to get to me and maintain a connection so they could continue to control and abuse, and that wasn’t something I was about to permit.
AFTER PRAYING AND ANALYZING THE SITUATION, THE ONLY POSSIBLE CHOICE BECOMES CLEAR
After what they had done to me, I felt that I owed my birth-relatives nothing. They certainly were not healthy people to have in my children’s lives, nor were they a good influence or positive example. I could not give such destructive people a say in who my children had to see, or allow them to selfishly and deviously put my kids in the middle of their issues with me. My only loyalty was to my husband and children and to do what was in their best interests. My sons had supported me and loved me through all the trauma that my parents put me through. There was no way I was going to betray them for my worthless birth-family.
So basically, I couldn't see how it would have been constructive, practical or possible for my father, mother, or sister to continue a relationship with my children when they weren't speaking to me. It would have put my sons in a very difficult position. Intentionally or not, they would have been used as pawns in the conflict.
In the end, I decided that I was not comfortable with my relatives remaining in contact with my kids when they weren't speaking to me, and my husband and kids weren't comfortable with it either. Quite frankly, nobody else’s feelings mattered. Their lifelong disinterest in my kids, ruining so many of their happy occasions, and abuse of their mother, had finally backfired on my parents and sister. By the time they stopped speaking to me, my kids were no longer interested in having anything to do with any of them. Speaking for my family unit, we had all just had enough. So after all these considerations, my decision was that my kids, my husband and I were a package deal. My birth-family would either have to see all of us, or none of us.
THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON HELPS US DISCERN WHO IS TRULY ACTING OUT OF LOVE FOR THE CHILD, AND ILLUSTRATES THE UNSELFISHNESS AND SACRIFICE THAT TRUE LOVE ENTAILS
NOW TWO WOMEN WHO WERE HARLOTS CAME TO THE KING, AND STOOD BEFORE HIM. AND ONE WOMAN SAID, “O MY LORD, THIS WOMAN AND I DWELL IN THE SAME HOUSE; AND I GAVE BIRTH WHILE SHE WAS IN THE HOUSE. THEN IT HAPPENED, THE THIRD DAY AFTER I HAD GIVEN BIRTH, THAT THIS WOMAN ALSO GAVE BIRTH. AND WE WERE TOGETHER; NO ONE WAS WITH US IN THE HOUSE, EXCEPT THE TWO OF US IN THE HOUSE.
“AND THIS WOMAN’S SON DIED IN THE NIGHT, BECAUSE SHE LAY ON HIM. SO SHE AROSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND TOOK MY SON FROM MY SIDE, WHILE YOUR MAIDSERVANT SLEPT, AND LAID HIM IN HER BOSOM, AND LAID HER DEAD CHILD IN MY BOSOM.
“AND WHEN I ROSE IN THE MORNING TO NURSE MY SON, THERE HE WAS, DEAD. BUT WHEN I HAD EXAMINED HIM IN THE MORNING, INDEED, HE WAS NOT MY SON WHOM I HAD BORNE.”
THEN THE OTHER WOMAN SAID, “NO! BUT THE LIVING ONE IS MY SON, AND THE DEAD ONE IS YOUR SON.” AND THE FIRST WOMAN SAID, “NO! BUT THE DEAD ONE IS YOUR SON, AND THE LIVING ONE IS MY SON.” THUS THEY SPOKE BEFORE THE KING.
AND THE KING SAID, “THE ONE SAYS, ‘THIS IS MY SON, WHO LIVES, AND YOUR SON IS THE DEAD ONE’; AND THE OTHER SAYS, ‘NO! BUT YOUR SON IS THE DEAD ONE, AND MY SON IS THE LIVING ONE.’”
THEN THE KING SAID, “BRING ME A SWORD.” SO THEY BROUGHT A SWORD BEFORE THE KING. AND THE KING SAID, “DIVIDE THE LIVING CHILD IN TWO, AND GIVE HALF TO ONE, AND HALF TO THE OTHER.”
THEN THE WOMAN WHOSE SON WAS LIVING SPOKE TO THE KING, FOR SHE YEARNED WITH COMPASSION FOR HER SON; AND SHE SAID, “O MY LORD, GIVE HER THE LIVING CHILD, AND BY NO MEANS KILL HIM!” BUT THE OTHER SAID, “LET HIM BE NEITHER MINE NOR YOURS, BUT DIVIDE HIM.”
SO THE KING ANSWERED AND SAID, “GIVE THE FIRST WOMAN THE LIVING CHILD, AND BY NO MEANS KILL HIM; SHE IS HIS MOTHER.”
AND ALL ISRAEL HEARD OF THE JUDGMENT WHICH THE KING HAD RENDERED; AND THEY FEARED THE KING, FOR THEY SAW THAT THE WISDOM OF GOD WAS IN HIM TO ADMINISTER JUSTICE.”…….1 Kings 3:16-28 (NKJV)
In this story, Solomon knew that the woman who was willing to sacrifice her own desires and give up her rights to the baby so that he would not be hurt was the one who truly loved him and felt a mother’s protective instincts towards him. THE EVIL, SELFISH WOMAN WANTED TO POSSESS AT LEAST HALF OF THE CHILD WHO WASN’T HERS, EVEN IF IT MEANT HE WOULD BE HARMED. Both women wanted the child for themselves, but only the woman who really had his best interests at heart was the one who was willing to step back and lose him rather than let him be “divided”.
From this lesson we learn how to recognize one who truly has unselfish motives in the battle for a child’s affections. In every dispute between estranged relatives about access to the kids and not “putting them in the middle”, everyone talks a good talk about how much they love the kids and don’t want them to be hurt, but actions speak louder than words.
In order to avoid “dividing” the child, his affections and his loyalty, one party has to give up their “rights” so the child can live in peace, without being confused, hurt, and conflicted. That’s just the way it is, until the rift gets resolved. In all practicality, the child’s parent can’t very well be the one to step out of the picture and hand him over to his grandparents, aunts, or uncles. We can’t actually expect a mother to give up her children to the relatives, and that certainly would not be very beneficial for the children.
The only ones who are in a position to do the honorable thing and step back are the grandparents and/or extended relatives. If they fail to do this and continue to stubbornly insist that they have “rights”, to the detriment of the child, then that speaks volumes about the purity of their motives. Far better for everyone if they put their energies into doing whatever they have to do to heal the rift in their family, instead of wasting all that effort trying to circumvent their daughter and “show her that they don’t need her” to have a relationship with her kids.
THE MYTH OF “IT’S IN THE CHILDREN’S BEST INTERESTS” TO HAVE CONTACT WITH ABUSERS
Of course it’s in the children’s best interests to have regular contact with a loving extended family who will nurture them, care for them, and give them a sense of belonging and connection. Nobody would dispute that. But the key to that is a LOVING family, which our families, unfortunately, don’t happen to be. It is very sad and unfair for our children when their extended family happens not to be made up of loving, nurturing, caring people with whom it would be possible to carry on a warm, caring, respectful relationship, however, they will adjust to it. After all, those same unloving people were our IMMEDIATE family, it was sad and unfair for us too, and we had no choice but to accept it and adjust. If we learned to live with it, when it was our parents and siblings, then our kids will learn to live with it, too. And they will adjust more easily than we did, because it involves only a grandparent, aunt or uncle, not a parent or sibling.
Although both estranged parties might talk a good talk and claim that they only have the children’s best interests at heart, usually at least one party is acting out of very selfish motivations by trying to divide the child’s affections and loyalties.
What is in the best interests of children of ANY age (yes- even 20s, 30s and beyond!) is to not be involved in any way in the disagreements or feuds of the older generations. Children do not need to be forced or pressured to spend time with and be pleasant to someone who abused their parent. This naturally leads to confusion and conflicted feelings, and what we are doing in effect is teaching our children hypocrisy. We are teaching them that they must be hypocrites and phonies instead of being true to their own feelings of right and wrong. We are teaching them that they must accept, tolerate, and excuse unacceptable behavior towards a loved one, and go on having a nicey-nice time with the abuser and pretending that nothing is wrong and everything is perfectly normal.
Besides being pretty ridiculous, these are not the kinds of values I would want to model for my kids, or the example I would want to set. I would not be able to help but feel proud of my children for having the integrity and courage to refuse to have anything to do with an abuser. How could I chastise them for that? And how could I insist that they maintain a relationship with an abusive relative when I myself would not?
Children do not need to feel as if they must stick up for their Mom or Dad with the rest of the family. It is only natural for them to feel as if they have to defend their parents, and if they don’t, to then suffer from feelings of guilt and shame. They don’t need to feel anxious, nervous or inhibited, or like they have to watch what they say in front of the grandparents for fear of triggering a critical reaction about their parent, or letting slip something their parent may not want known. They do not need to feel pressured from either side, and they don’t need to be burdened with any of this.
Most adults would not want to be in this position between two parties who are not on speaking terms, and those of us who have been in such a situation know how stressful it can be and how we had to walk on eggshells in the presence of both parties. Like it or not, no matter how hard we tried to remain “neutral”, staying in touch with BOTH estranged parties made us feel “put in the middle”- just the thing we all claim we don’t want to do to our kids. It can’t be avoided-being in this position IS being put in the middle. In many cases it’s really too much to expect even of another adult, but it’s way too much of a strain to put on a child.
It is even more unrealistic of a grandparent to think a child can “remain neutral” and should be just as interested in maintaining a relationship with a grandparent, aunt or uncle, as he is with his own Mom or Dad. That is another example of expecting from a child what even an adult would find difficult to achieve. Children cannot divide their loyalties in that way and it is not healthy to try and force them to. It is only natural for a child to take his parent’s side over someone else’s, to be loyal to and protective of his own parent, and to feel resentful of anyone who hurts his parent.
Children and their parents need to be a package deal. The way for the child’s interests to be best served and for him to feel the most at ease is for him to visit relatives together with his intact family unit. The person who insists on trying to maintain contact with a child while eliminating his parent is the one who is truly using the child as a pawn, not the person who tries to protect the child from being put in a difficult position or awkward situation.
SO WHAT DO I TELL MY KIDS?
Children can be very resilient. They usually accept very nicely that either “We’re all going to see Grandpa next Sunday” or “We’re not going to be seeing Grandpa for a while because he needs some time to learn how to control his temper. When he can do this, then we’ll go see him again.” Many times we waste unnecessary time agonizing over this decision and how to “break it to” the kids, only to find out that they don’t much care one way or the other. For younger kids, their little world consists of Mommy & Daddy, their siblings, their pets, and their house. They don’t have any trouble adapting to changes in other, peripheral relationships.
As long as we’re honest, tell them the truth and let them know what’s going on before they find out some other way, our children will feel secure and trust us. It is when they think we’re hiding things from them that they feel insecure and nervous.
Older children may require more of an explanation. I do not believe in protecting abusers, and I firmly believe in telling the truth, at an age-appropriate level. In fact, my philosophy is basically, “If you don’t want anyone to know what you did, then don’t do it.” When you do finally speak the truth to your children about your relatives’ abusive behavior, you will often be surprised at just how much they already know, how much they have observed over the years, and how uncomfortable they’ve been all along watching their mother be mistreated.
Even if they protest not seeing their grandparents or aunt or uncle, children still need to understand that the final decision must rest with their parent, and not with them. Depending on their ages and the nature of your birth-family’s abuse, you may not have shared all the details with your children as of yet. They may not have all the facts they need to make an informed decision about whether or not it’s really good for them to have these people in their lives. Even if they do know the whole story, children do not have the judgment, knowledge, wisdom, or experience to make such decisions for themselves. We don’t let them go wherever they want to or do whatever they want to, because they’re not mature enough yet to choose wisely and to understand all the ramifications. This decision is no different than any other. The parents’ judgment has to be the one to prevail.
ALL RELATIVES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
There is a reason that a distinction is made between an “immediate family” and an “extended family”. They are not the same thing, and they are not of equal importance in a child’s life. To a child, he and his parents and siblings are his family unit and the extended family is not part of that unit. Grandparents, aunts and uncles are simply NOT EQUAL TO PARENTS, and it is not logical to expect that they should be. That’s just the way it is, and that’s the way it should rightfully be.
No “outsider” should be permitted the right or the power to intrude into a family unit of parents and children and cause any kind of conflict or conflicted loyalties, tension, confusion, disharmony, or upset. No one has “rights” to a child who isn’t theirs. Many abusers don’t really love the grandkids, but are simply using them to punish or get at their victim. If she truly wants her grandkids in her life, the abuser can always start by apologizing to their mother for the abuse, and by treating her with love and respect from then on. The reality is that if you truly want a good relationship with someone else’s children, then you need to be prepared to also have a good relationship with their parents, and to do whatever it takes to relate to the child’s immediate family as a whole and in a positive manner.
Personally, I see no reason to accommodate abusive, abandoning, treacherous, or evil relatives by making it easy for them to see our children without having to face us or deal with us. I believe that allowing them access to our kids while cutting us out of the picture takes away a big incentive for them to change their ways and motivation to make amends. In my humble opinion, we and our children are indeed a package deal. If someone is not on speaking terms with us, then it's not a healthy situation for them to be in contact with our children until and unless the rift with us is resolved.
Copyright 2002-2013.-All articles on this site are copyrighted. Permission to copy is granted for non-profit use only.Please help yourself to anything we write if you can use it to help others. A link back to this site is our only requirement. Please contact us for any commercial or other use. All e-mails, letters, and other correspondence become the property of Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc. Due to the large volume of e-mails, we're sorry that we are unable to personally answer every one, but we do lift everyone who writes to us in prayer to the Lord.
The Lord specifically called Sister Renee to minister to Adult Children, not their parents, estranged siblings or friends, abusive or abused spouses, or victims of other types of abuse, although what we write here can often be meaningful for those folks as well. Because of this, our ministry and website have a narrow focus which we will not be changing. We simply can't cover everything. In addition, it is not our purpose to help you re-establish contact with someone who felt it was necessary to cut you off for the sake of their own well-being. We do not keep a list of resources for estranged parents or any other type of abuse and suggest if you are sincerely interested in making amends with an estranged relative, you do an internet search for a website or group that will be more relevant to you. If you cannot find a group or site that you can relate to, we suggest you start your own, and bless other people in your position as well as find support for your personal issues.
For Adult Children and others as well, please understand that we cannot give you personal advice concerning your particular family relationships. We are not therapists or lawyers, we usually do not have enough information to form an opinion, and time does not permit us to give enough thought to each person's individual situation to do it justice. If you need personal advice, we urge you to contact the appropriate professional, depending on the problem you have- your minister, therapist, attorney, police department, local domestic violence hotline, etc. In reading this site, you acknowledge that nothing you might read here qualifies as or substitutes for professional advice. Please note we cannot recommend or refer you to a counselor and we do not have a list of therapists or recovery groups in your area. The only Counselor we recommend is the Holy Ghost, and we encourage you to read the Bible and learn for yourself what the Lord says about the issues we write about.
Our articles are strictly our personal opinions and testimonies and are not intended to give or offer any advice. All who access this site do so with the understanding that we are NOT professional counselors and we strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with your pastor or therapist and pray for the Lord's guidance before acting on anything we write on this site. Unfortunately, the abuse we discuss is all too common, inflicted on countless victims by countless perpetrators. All names and identifying details in our articles have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. Any resemblance to a real person or persons whom you might know is strictly coincidental.