Question

Contacting Grandchildren When the Parents Won’t Talk to Us

Question:

Our grandchildren live far away, and their parents do not talk to us. How can we still acknowledge our grandchildren?

Response:

This is difficult, but not a hopeless situation. It requires some intentional communication on your part.

If the children are under 18 years of age, I suggest that you start by notifying the parents that you would like to have contact with your grandchildren. Many parents who don’t talk with their parents, for whatever reason, are open to allowing their children to hear from grandparents.

Ask permission to write to them and send gifts. If your children allow you to do that, assume that they will read what you have written before they give messages to their children. With that in mind, be sure to write encouraging messages and let your grandchildren know that you are thinking about them. Ask them questions about their lives, to encourage them to respond to you.

In order to keep the lines of communication open, don’t talk about any matters of faith that might keep your letters out of the hands of the children. You want to build a relationship with them that will encourage them to seek you out as they get older. If that happens, when you talk to them later in life, you can share your faith with them.

If the grandchildren are over 18, you might want to try to get a current address from their parents. If they won’t provide it, do some online research to find a current address.

If your children are completely resistant to you having contact with your grandchildren, I encourage you to write letters to them that you keep. These can be presented to them at a later date or directed to someone to pass on to them if you are unable to do so.

As you know, as children grow older and mature, they begin to make decisions for themselves. I have seen more than one older family member reunited with a younger family member when a child becomes a young adult. The young adult decides that he or she wants to pursue a relationship with someone he or she wasn’t allowed to communicate with as a child. If that happens for you, you can then share what you have been thinking about the child over many years.

Finally, pray for your children to be open to you communicating with your grandchildren and for your grandchildren’s hearts to be open to having a relationship with you. Also, pray for surrogate grandparents in their lives who can disciple them in your absence.

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