IS GRANDPARENT ALIENATION ELDER ABUSE? CHILD ABUSE?
Glenn Ross Caddy Ph.D., A.B.P.P., F.A.P.A.
There is no question but that unless there is legitimate reason to prevent the grandparents and children from enjoying a complete family life together [such justification may be the true psychological pathology or physical abuse of the children be the grandparent[s], that the alienation of children from their loving parents by one or both parents is pathological and constitutes child abuse. This is simply because grandparents play an important role for the children in defining the depth and family and the support system of love inherent in the family just as uncles and aunts and cousins contribute to the breadth of the family surrounding the support, love, and well-being of the children. These people are far more than friends, they are blood and they are love.
Tragically, it is common with alienation that when one set of grandparents or both sets are the victims of alienation the entire family on at least one side is estranged and splintered. The children who suffer this alienation have no context of cohesiveness or normalcy in of extended family life. They do not learn or know normalcy and they suffer profound emotional consequences therefrom. I have treated people in their 30's and 40's who came to realize in the context of the therapy that they were the victims of parental [and grandparent] alienation and their suffering has ranged between confusion and unimaginable psychic pain and psychopathology.
The research-backed benefits of grandparents go beyond the mediocre candy in their pockets.
Grandparents help raise happy adults.
Kids who grow up to have greater emotional closeness with grandparents are less likely to be depressed as adults, one study shows. The research looked at 374 grandparents and 356 adult grandchildren and included seven waves of data collection between 1985 and 2004, and found that the affinity grandparents and adult grandchildren had for each other reduced depressive symptoms on both sides. While this study looked at adult grandkids, a similar study of children ages 11- to 16-years-old echoed these findings as well. And 16-year-olds are rarely happy about anything.