Thursday, July 26, 2012
Question and Answer Time- Relationship with Adult Child Extended Family
Q: Why can't you see having more people love a child is the best way to raise them? All you want to teach them is to hate.
A: I never said children shouldn't have as many concerned, loving extended family members as possible. But somebody has to be in charge of the child's daily life. There has to be a boss. The boss sets the rules, and has the authority to act in the child's best interest. Raising children by consensus, where a bunch of adults have input on how the child is raised? Not only is that time-consuming, while waiting on everybody to cast his or her vote, but the paradigm for it requires adults who can put aside their own feelings for the good of the child.
I'm not saying it can't happen. I've seen two couples pull it off in the thousands I've seen divorce and remarry. I just say it's not likely to happen.
As I've previously stated, having custody of grandchildren is not the same as the aftermath of a divorce. There are a very few similar situations, but by-and-large, divorce is not a helpful comparison to grandparents raising grandchildren.
Grandchildren don't live with grandparents because the grandparents and the adult child don't love each other any more, to the point where there is a separation. This isn't about adultery, or coming out of the closet to be gay and therefore not having a marital relationship with the opposite gender, or because a spouse has substance abuse problems he or she won't treat, or even falling out of love.
The structure of the grandparent/parent/ adult child/ grandchildren paradigm is completely different. Two adult children chose to do things in life that caused both of them to lose custody of their children. When the kids live with Grams and Granps, it isn't about custody of one parent or the other. BOTH parents did something so radical that the children can't live with either one of them any more.
It is usually not the grandparents who have a choice in whether the parents visit, in any event. It's the court that has jurisdiction over the grandchildren that decides these things.
As for the others, the extended family? That's up to the grandparents with custody. There are some states that permit certain family members to go to court and ask for court-ordered visitation. There are other states that have laws that the custodian, whoever that person is, decides what's best and who can see the kids. Visitation rights are a separate issue from custodial rights.