My daughter-in-law won’t let me see my grandchildren, what can I do?

I am a Grandmother, and my daughter-in-law and I had a disagreement, now she will not let me see the grandchildren. The grandchildren, ages six and two, have spent alot of time at our house. My heart is broken. What should I do?

You need to make-up with your daughter-in-law. There are two steps. First I would suggest you apologize for your part in the disagreement.  In most disagreements both sides contribute to the problem.  The apology needs to be genuine and sincere.  So if you were too quick to criticize, admit it. If you butted into something where you had no business, admit it.

For an apology to be effective it has to be free from criticism.  Don’t apologize and add a criticism. If you say, “I am sorry I got angry but you were being childish” it is not an apology.

Apologies need to be unconditional. Don’t apologize to get an apology. Your daughter-in-law may or may not apologize for her part in the argument. Be gracious and accept whatever she does.

The second part is to notice things she does well. Let her know what she is doing well with the grandchildren. Notice her strengths. Be kind to her.

If your daughter-in-law had written, I would tell her not to punish her children by cutting them off from their grandmother. But she didn’t write.  My advice to you focuses on what you can do. Don’t think about what she should do.

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4 Responses to My daughter-in-law won’t let me see my grandchildren, what can I do?

  1. Terry says:

    My Daughter want let me & my wife see the grand kids because she said she hates me and don’t want to ever have anything to do with me ever. Me and her got in to it about 4 years ago she hit me and then called the police on me and she went to jail. She got over that about 6 months later but about 6 months agao she stated up on me again and has not talk with me in 6 months. We see our grand kids at spoting events and that is it. We had the kids every day of there life in the past because we live real close to each other so it made it easy for me & my wife to watch the kids until she got home for work. But to be honest me & my wife are going through so much because it hurts so bad. I wish in Texas we could get a lawyer and fight for the kids but from what i have read we have no rights at all. Is that true?

    • Dr. Pat says:

      I am not an expert on the law about visitation with grandparents. Consult a lawyer, or go to your public library and ask the reference desk for help. Libraries are a fabulous information resource. I don’t think grandparents have visitation rights.

      The real issue is how to repair the relationship with your daughter. Repairing the relationship is the best way for you to get to see the grandchildren. Forget the past. Focus on finding positive things you can say to or do for your daughter. Abide by the old hippy saying “Make love, not war” with your daughter.

      Send her a Christmas card with a small present for her family. I don’t know what you can afford but even a small gift card for a restaurant would be great. Find other excuses to send her positive notes. For example on her birthday or the birthday of one of the grandchildren. Do not do anything she would think is negative.

      Your daughter must think you have wronged her. Apologize to her and mean it. You may be offending your daughter by things that you don’t think should offend her. Change what you do.

      If you want to see your grandchildren, you have to build a relationship with your daughter.

      Dr. Pat

  2. Jody says:

    From day 1 my daughter in law has tried to manipulate me using my grandchildren. I always offer to take both children over night when ever she’s asked. Lately it has been every week and I have gotten behind on my own chores as a result. My grand daughter is 2 1/2 now and my grandson is almost 5 mos. He is still getting over a respiratory infection and isn’t sleeping through the night anymore. When she asked me to take the kids she wanted to give the 2 yr old to her own mother if I took the sick baby, if I couldn’t take both. In the past it has been a regular thing for her to be told that I need the kids to be picked up by, say 11:00 am and she doesn’t show until 3:30 – 4 because she lost track of time. When I told her that I wouldn’t take both and asked if I could have just my granddaughter to take her to a movie I was told “Well, I’ll have to think about it.” If we’re not going anywhere then she doesn’t really need to be going anywhere either.” After all of the nights I’ve taken the children, both of the children, she then proceeded to pull out the ” Well, when my son gets a little older he’s going to know that you only wanted to take one and is going to feel left out.” But it was going to be ok for her mom to have her alone. They are going to be leaving soon to go on vacation, that her mother will be also attending with them and I wanted to spend some quality time with my granddaughter. I don’t understand why I should be left to feel like I had to beg. Her mother will not ever take both kids at the same time. I couldn’t believe she treated me this way after all of the times I did take the kids over night for them. The last 3 times I’ve tried to call my son, she’s answered his phone, I can only assume it was to intercept. How do I deal her manipulative manner?

    • Dr. Pat says:

      The best solution in my opinion is to discuss these issues with your son. He is a parent to these children and is your child.

      Unfortunately, you do not have a relationship with your daughter-in-law. This makes it almost impossible to correct the difficulties you are having directly with her.

      Don’t whine about the things your daughter-in-law has done. Be positive and tell him what you wish to do with your grandchildren. It seems you are willing to babysit both some times and you want to have some individual time with your granddaughter. These are reasonable requests.

      If your son says deal with his wife, smile and be firm. Tell him you have tried that and it does not work. Remind him that he is your son and their parent.

      Be friendly and positive to your daughter-in-law. Don’t criticize her.