Grandparents have prerogatives when it comes to grandchildren

Do grandparents have prerogatives in the lives of their grandchildren? When the family works together as a team, a child benefits in relationship with parent and grandparent. When the family is broken apart by death or divorce, the lines blur in the prerogatives of the grandparents. The only prerogatives that are guaranteed for most grandparents is to love and desire the best for their grandchildren.

Grandparents are an important part of a child’s life. Children find a wealth of knowledge in grandparents. At this stage of life, most grandparents exercise more patience because they have lived through and found solutions to many of life’s situations. They typically make a greater effort to bond with the child. Even when a grandparent still works, there is an atmosphere of ‘home’ at grandma’s house. Grandparents tend to indulge the child more freely but with healthy boundaries established by parents, this is not a major concern.

In a perfect setting, children would always live in a safe environment. Grandparents and children would live close enough to visit on a regular basis. Parents would set the guidelines and communicate the children’s activity and discipline limits. Children would receive love and emotional support from both family and extended family members. Parental styles would mesh without conflict and they would work together to ensure the best upbringing for the child.

The current divorce rate is at 50% and the breakdown of the family unit has taken a toll on grandparents rights just as it has on parents and children. Adult children die. The custodial parent has the authority to set limits or deny visitation to the grandparents. There are no national laws that protect the grand parent’s visitation rights. The laws are made by the state and they differ from one state to another.

In extreme conditions, grandparent may be the custodial caregiver for the child. In 1997, 5,435,000 children were being raised by grandparents on either a full time or part time basis.

The grandparent/grandchild relationship is special and both benefit from the relationship. Grandparents should be allowed visitation rights to grandchildren except in the question of safety to the children.