Barriers to Good Relationships
Recent societal changes have affected the depth of the relationship between grandparent and grandchild. Conflicts between grandparents and their adult children, the rising divorce rate, and the long distances that separate families are straining these intergenerational ties.
But, poor relations between parents and children do not have to affect the grandparent/grandchild connection. Dr. Kornhaber explains, "The misery shared by parents and their children does not have to be passed on to the grandchildren. Nature gives grandparents another chance, but it is the parents who are in the critical role. They are the linchpins between their parents and their kids. They supply the model for their children who will copy whatever they do."
Dr. Kornhaber is disturbed by the damage done to the grandparent/grandchild bond as a result of an argument between adult children and their parents. "I don't think the bond should ever be broken," he says. "Unless there is potential danger, a break with the grandparents is a very bad example to give children. They will be frightened that in the future they may do the same thing to their parents."
Linda expresses her frustration with her own family situation. "I would love to see an improvement in our family relationship. There is no special time alone between my children and their grandparents. My in-laws have a second chance here which they are not taking," she laments. "They haven't developed a closeness with their own children and now it is carrying over to the grandchildren. Even if it were only one hour once a month I'd feel better."