READER QUESTION #1: My son and his girlfriend just started living together because she had a baby a little more then a month ago. I've only seen my granddaughter twice for five minutes, and every time my son says they will stop by, they never do. He makes up excuses. Call it a woman's feeling, but I think the girlfriend does not want me to see the baby. So what are my rights to see her? Can I go to court for this situation? - Call it a Hunch
Susan: Dear CIAH: I understand your eagerness to get to know the new baby. After all, it's only natural to want to be a part of her life. The best way to ensure that will happen is to become an asset to the parents. I suggest that you adopt some strategies to connect with the mom. As for pursuing "rights" in court - not a good plan, since you haven't established a bond with the mom. Give it some time and put your energy into building a strong relationship.
READER QUESTION #2: My 28-year-old daughter has two children by different fathers. Neither father is in the picture. I have supported my daughter and her kids their whole lives. My daughter has been unable to work because of numerous medical conditions, but is now working part time. She has very low self-esteem and meets men online. Including the children's fathers, she has now gone from loser to loser. With the current one, she is threatening to move out because yet again. This guy is creepy. She has already done this twice, uprooting the children from the only home they have known. She is making them so insecure and sad and it is breaking my heart. She also is addicted to pain meds, which makes her very explosive. My 8-year-old granddaughter is very bright and we are very close. I am the one who has taken care of these kids daily needs. Is there any recourse for me to stop her from taking these children? - Mother Moves Around
Susan: Dear MMA: I agree your daughter cannot continue to uproot her children. Clearly it is not in their best interest, and does indeed threaten their security. My advice is to either improve the current living arrangement or change it. One way to improve it is to encourage your daughter to participate in family counseling. The best case scenario is that she seek treatment on her own and change her dysfunctional behavior, but it has to be her choice.
The other alternative is to file a petition for temporary guardianship, which requires entering the system and lots of preparation. It is always best to try to work things out on your own if possible. There are resources available to you on Grandparents.com and our grandparentchildconnect.org website.
READER QUESTION #3: My granddaughter sent a thank you card to her grandpa and I for her Christmas presents we gave to she and her husband. She started the card out using our first names rather than “Grandma and Grandpa." Is this appropriate behavior for a 23-year-old married granddaughter? Are we wrong in that it hurt our feelings to be called by our first names instead of grandma and grandpa? Just wondering what your take on this is. - What's My Name?
Susan: Dear WMN: There are no rights or wrongs here. Your feelings are your feelings. If your granddaughter has always called you grandma and grandpa and suddenly starts addressing you by your first names, why not simply ask in a non-shaming, non-blaming way: Why the change? Once she provides the answer, you can accept it, reject it, or tolerate it. Try to look at the big picture, which is the quality of the relationship rather than the name that she has chosen to call you. This may not be a sign of disrespect, but her simply testing the waters of maturity.
Susan Hoffman is the creator and director of Advocates for Grandparent-Grandchild Connection, a charitable non-profit 501©(3) organization, the purpose of which is to provide resources to families, specifically grandparents, experiencing visitation issues with grandchildren. She is also the author of Grand Wishes: Advocating To Preserve The Grandparent-Grandchild Bond and A Precious Bond: How To Preserve The Grandparent-Grandchild Relationship, as well as the documentary filmmaker behind A Precious Bond. She sponsored a bill in California on behalf of grandparent rights that became law in 2007, and currently lives in Newport Beach, California. Susan is not a lawyer. Her advice is for informational purposes only.
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