Grandma Will Not Acknowledge Step-GrandChildren

Grandparents have a vital role to play in the lives of their grandchildren. You want them to have a strong connection, a wonderful collection of shared memories, and a heaping dose of unconditional love. You and your significant other want the best type of relationship when it comes to your children and grandma but what happens when Grandma will not acknowledge her step-grandchildren that are now a part of her family?

You don’t want your children to go through life in a completely separate world from their step-grandma. Even though you are in a blended family, you want the same love to be felt as if you were in a non-blended family.

So how do you begin to go about building a healthy relationship when Grandma seems unwilling to do so? It may be helpful to look at the situation from Grandma’s point of view.

Why Grandma May Refuse to Acknowledge Her Step-Grandchildren

1. She Liked The First Spouse And Did Not Want Them To Divorce

This one can be a tough pill to swallow. Comparison is a difficult thing to begin with, but to be compared to someone your spouse ultimately divorced can be uniquely difficult. Grandma may have had a very strong relationship with your spouse’s ex. She may have thought very highly of them and been shocked when the marriage ended.

In her eyes, you just do not measure up to who she believes them to be. She may not believe it worth her while to invest in a relationship with your children. The hurt that she might be feeling is the reason for this purposeful separation.

2. She Does Not Feel Connected To The Children

Step-grandchildren are not related by blood and that can exasperate the feeling of disconnectedness Grandma may be feeling.  She may resent unexpectedly being dropped in at one random point in their lives through no choice of her own.

The feeling of disconnectedness can be even more pronounced if the step-grandchildren are older when the relationship begins. The children have a good portion of their lives that she has missed out on. She was not involved during those adorable preschool years, their early birthdays, and many more events that build up a connection with a family member. It can be easy to understand why she may feel a lack of connection.

3. She Does Not Believe The Children Are interested In a Relationship With Her

In situations of a second marriage, the number of people in a child’s life grows. In addition to the initial aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, there are now step versions of all those people. It is possible that Grandma does not feel that the children even need her in their lives given all these other people in the family.

She may not see how she fits into the lives of her new step-grandchildren. What does she have to contribute? How will they benefit from being in a relationship with her? These are all questions she is most likely asking herself.

Steps to Take When Grandma Will Not Acknowledge Her Step-GrandChildren

1. Help Her To See The Value She Can Bring To The Relationship

If you and your spouse can help Grandma see the importance of her role with her step-grandchildren, you may see improved effort on her part. Let her know that you think she has wisdom to share. Tell her which childhood memories may be of interest to her step-grandchildren.

Remind her of the value of just being present and listening to a child. Continue to remind her that you want her to be a positive, loving role model in the lives of her step-grandchildren. You want her to enrich their lives through shared wisdom and experiences. Once she understands that she alone can change their lives for the better, she will consciously make an effort to be around them as much as possible.

2. Be Intentional About Having The Children Spend Time With Her

Relationships take time and effort to build. The more time grandma and the children spend time together, the greater the relationship will be. Even if the grandma is resisting the hangout or not being an active participant in it, she will still be around the children and that is a good first step to take.

Try to include activities that Grandma would enjoy or that she has expertise in. If she enjoys gardening, have the children help her with weeding or harvesting. She may appreciate the help and she may also teach them about gardening in the process. If she loves to cook, she can teach the grandchildren how to make some amazing dishes that will be carried on for the rest of their life.

This is also another way of helping her to see the value she brings to the relationship. If she can understand that concept, she will want to spend time with them even more.

3. Help Your Children Express Their Desire For A Relationship With Her

This will vary with the age of the child, but young children can draw a picture to share with Grandma. Older children may want to send a text message or write a letter to drop in the mail. Make an ongoing effort to let Grandma know that they want to know her, and they want her to know about them. Making sincere efforts to communicate may help break down the emotional walls that Grandma has built.

It is important to remember though that your kids should not be pressured to do so if they don’t want to at the moment. It can also take time for the grandchildren to want to open up to her and be around her so easing the process of communication is key.

4. Remind Her That Children Can Never Have Too Much Love

While Grandma may feel lost in the shuffle of multiple family members, remind her that the love she has to share is still needed. Children in a step-family situation have been through a lot of stress and hardship. Unconditional love from family members can help to heal some of the hurts and help move them to a healthier emotional place.

Some studies have even shown that children with supportive and involved grandparents are less likely to have negative behavioral issues and less likely to participate in risky social behaviors. When grandma will not acknowledge her step-children, she is potentially limiting the amount of love these kids feel.

5. Encourage Her To Seek Out Step-Grandparenting Resources

Many grandparents today are tech-savvy and spend time online. It may be helpful for Grandma to connect with others online who are in a similar situation. Or it may be that she knows someone locally who is willing to come alongside and be a mentor during this time of uncertainty.

She may find it helpful to hear how others have managed the same feelings of frustration, isolation, and unimportance. Ideally, she will connect with someone who has moved successfully through those difficult times and is now living happily on the other side.

6. Support Your Spouse Taking The Lead To Resolve Issues

There is likely to be work that needs to be done to get to the heart of Grandma’s issue. To prevent the build-up of any more animosity or ill-will, it should be your spouse who takes the initiative to try to resolve these issues.

Be sure they have the time to privately talk together, without interruption, whether it be by phone or in person. Encourage them to have an ongoing conversation in order to prevent small issues from becoming monumental issues.

7. Maintain Your Own Integrity In The Situation

When grandma will not acknowledge her step-grandchildren, this type of situation is no doubt stressful. Emotions can run high on all sides. Do all you can to keep an even temper when things heat up. While explosive outbursts may seem validated at the time, they are likely to further the divide between you and Grandma and ultimately Grandma and the step-grandchildren. In the same way, childish behaviors, such as the silent treatment, are a dead-end road as well.

A grandma that will not acknowledge her step-children can cause issues down the line.

Always keep the ultimate goal in mind. You want Grandma to have a healthy, long-term relationship with her step-grandchildren. You want them to have a strong connection, a wonderful collection of shared memories, and a heaping dose of unconditional love. The only steps you want to take are steps that get you, and your family, closer to that goal. Like it was mentioned above, doing activities that involve the stepchildren and grandma should be a must.

Reaching your goal may require that you lay down your pride at times. You may have to be the bigger, albeit younger, person. You will need patience and perseverance to build the healthy family unit you have been envisioning.

Final Thoughts

It can be a hard thing to go through when a grandma will not acknowledge her step-grandchildren. All you wish for is to have one loving family but this separation is causing that fantasy to never take place. This might even make the stepchildren ungrateful which is the last thing you want to happen.

Make sure that you approach this with the proper mindset and using logic instead of acting emotionally. It will be a hard task to accomplish and persistence is needed but with time and effort, you will be able to create a loving bond between the stepchildren and their grandma.