Unfortunately I am hearing of this tragic situation with more and more regularity.
Hearing from Grandparents who are in agony over not being allowed to see their grandchildren is heartbreaking. They do not understand why their kids have decided they do not want them around their kids. I find that grandparents in this situation are confused and hurt. They cannot understand why they are not permitted to see their grand kids and what they can do to change the situation.
There are multiple factors underlying the growth of this trend:
1) The change in the view and values of recent generations
2) The failure of Traditional parenting strategies
3) Unresolved issues and their associated hurt
Change in the values of recent generations
The millennial, as well as subsequent generations view and evaluate their worlds differently the previous generations. They do not value knowledge, information and truth like previous generations. Instead they value community, authenticity, and experience. This means that the nature of the relationship and how the family functions is imperative. They are more sensitive to interactions within a family and as a result are more easily hurt by these interactions.
Failure of Traditional Parenting Strategies
Traditional parenting strategies relied upon boundaries, expectations and consequences that place a premium on behavior and performance over relationship and authentic interaction. A clear disconnect with the relational perspective of younger generations today. Where our generation handled the old parenting system better because we valued knowledge and truth and thus saw the logic behind our parent’s harsh responses and consequences. The change in the values of recent generations and their experience driven nature lead them to evaluate their families very differently then we did. As a result they are more likely to be troubled, hurt and carry resentment from their childhood than we were. Where we saw what our parents did as a logical outcome of falling short of our parent’s desires and expectations. They were hurt, confused and even embarrassed by them.
Another failure of the traditional parenting paradigm is the lack of a two-way resolution process, where kids frustrations, issues sand hurts with their parents are actually heard, understood and accepted leading to adjustments and better relationships. This leads to the root of the trend of grandparents not being allowed to see their grand kids.
When I am working with families I always find that the kids are carrying a great deal of unresolved issues and hurt with their parents. When kids exit our homes feeling not understood, hear, listened to and with a pile of unresolved hurt and fear that the same issues that hurt them will play out with their kids the growing tend makes more sense.
The concern this leaves me with for grandparents is significant, but this is not my greatest concern. This is rooted in the absence of another approach to parenting being widely accepted. Today, I find many millennial parents slipping into the parenting strategies of their parents or reacting strongly the other direction seeking to be the friend parent and not have any sources of conflict. This is the reason the Durango School District is trying to find ways to reach families before school begins. Last year they had a significant percentage of kindergartener arriving for school who were not potty trained creating a huge issue in the classroom and an embarrassing situations for the kids.
This is the reason Revive Family is dedicated to changing the parenting culture in our country. We are on a mission to raise up a generation of influential parents who see that the healthiest approach is in the middle between a traditional parenting style and the friend parent. Our interaction with thousands of kids and parents lead to the development of Influential Parenting to help change the tide of so many issues we see developing in young people’s lives today including the trend of grandparents not being allowed to see their grand kids.
What Do I Do?
If this blog moved you to fully understanding the source of the issue and to accepting it then it’s time to do the first step of the implementation process we provide to parents who complete Revive Family’s Influential Parenting program. That step is developing a thorough apology list. Think back through all the things that you can rem
ember that you may have done or said that you believe they are still holding on to today. Write them down with specifics. Then take them out and sit down and just work your way through the list. Then ask for forgiveness and give them the time they need to reach this point.
You may also want to tell them that you have revisited your view of parenting and wish you had done things differently. Be prepared for them to ask how. To prepare for this you may want to take our video based online Influential Parenting class. It has 12 video sessions each 13 to 15 minute long. The sessions will help you see things through
your kid’s eyes and make it easier to reconnect with them. If you take the class keep your apology list with you, as it will likely bring back things you can add to your list. While this is not easy or fun, the joy of reconnecting and having your grand kids in your life again is well worth the journey.
Often times our kids just need to feel heard and understood as well as to have their hurt acknowledged with a sincere apology. They also need to believe that we will approach the grand kids differently then we approached them to open their hearts and the doors to their homes to us again. Would you like to continue learning with us? Join us on our webinar video about Influential Parenting. -Revive Family