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Why Grandparents Rights Won’t Protect You from Family Conflict

By Margaret Manning March 06, 2016 Family

Life after 60 can be tough. Over the last few years, I’ve heard from women who are dealing with chronic illnesses. I’ve talked with ladies who have lost their husband to old-age or injury. I’ve heard stories of financial trouble and loneliness.

But, if I am completely honest, nothing breaks my heart more than when I hear from someone who has been denied the right to see her grandkids.

I use the word “right” lightly here. As many older women have discovered the hard way, enforcing your grandparents rights is an extremely difficult process. The simple truth is that, in most countries, parents have the final say regarding how their raise their kids – and this includes whether they allow their grandparents to play a role.

Like many women, I always assumed that grandparents had the right to see their grandkids, but, in many cases, this is not true. As an article on puts it…

“If your grandchildren’s parents are married, they can usually deny you time with your grandchildren, and the court will not interfere. Legally, as long as the parents of your grandchildren are not unfit, they can raise their children any way they like. The government cannot overrule their decision.”

Of course, everyone’s situation is different, so, it’s best to consult an attorney if you want to understand how things work in your country or state. That said, at an absolute minimum, it does look like grandparents are at a significant disadvantage (legally speaking) when it comes to family conflict.

Several respected experts, including Donne Davis of the GaGa Sisterhood, have told me that the best approach is to focus on fixing the family conflict, instead of focusing on your legal rights. But, this raises an important set of questions.

How can we resolve family conflict, while protecting our grandkids? What should we do when we strongly disagree with how our kids are raising our grandkids? Should grandmas “swallow their pride” and keep their opinions to themselves for the sake of continuing to be able to see their grandkids?

I know that this is an emotional issue, so, I don’t bring it up lightly. At the same time, since so many people are dealing with family conflict, I felt like I needed to bring it out into the open.

I’d love to hear your advice for dealing with family conflict.

What’s Your Advice for Dealing with Family Conflict?

With over 150,000 women over 60 in our community, we have a lot of collective wisdom. Many of us have successfully resolved family conflicts. Others are still struggling to see our grandkids. So, I’d love to get a conversation started. I hope that you find this discussion useful.

What advice would you give to the women in our community when it comes to resolving family conflict? Do you think that it is possible to “agree to disagree” when it comes to our kids own parenting style?

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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