Reprinted from Grandparenting.org, a website devoted to issues, including visitation, that affect grandparents. Use by permission.Following are some findings that may help alienated families to reconcile:
Never completely banish a parent or grandparent from the life of a child.
When conflicts occur, concentrate on getting rid of the problems--not the people. And use every option to do so, including professional help.
Many of the attitudes and situations leading to parent-grandparent problems are temporary. People grow and change. Forgiveness is important. Our experience and research show that many parents eventually regret having separated their children from their grandparents. Parent-grandparent alienation is painful for all, rips apart the fabric of the family, and sets a terrible example for children. Find another way.
It is a terrible example for children when parents do not let them see their grandparents. Indeed, it hurts the parent-child relationship too. Children get insecure and afraid of their parents. Many wonder if their own parents will get rid of them too if they are not "good." Others are fearful, because of the example they have seen, if they too will do the same to their own parents one day. Additionally, children have to lead a double life when they love their grandparents. They are afraid to tell their own parents they love and miss their grandparents for fear their parents will be angry with them.
Many children reconcile with their grandparents as soon as they come of age.
Children need both their parents and grandparents. We tell feuding parents and grandparents that they have to love the child more than they "love" the anger they may feel toward one another. Rarely should the grandparent-grandchild bond ever be permanently ruptured. Parents should know that research shows grandparents rarely inflict the conflicts and problems on grandchildren that they may have inflicted on their children. Growing up is a good teacher.
Rarely should litigation take place--and only as a last resort. It ups the ante of misery and can create a permanent solution for what might be a temporary problem.