Dilemma: my grandchildren are not allowed to spend time with my husband

Jo Brand / 19 January 2018

Saga Magazine's agony aunt Jo Brand receives a letter from a reader concerned her grandchildren and new husband are being kept apart.

Dilemma: my daughter doesn't like her children seeing my husband

I have been married twice and my current husband is now step-grandfather to my daughter’s children who, at six and nine, adore him.

He is great fun and outgoing. But my daughter clearly doesn’t like it and has told them that he is ‘not their real grandfather’.

She has stopped coming round so much, so I am missing out too. My pleas and explanations fall on deaf ears. Clearly she is being loyal to her father, but what can I say to ease all the tensions?

Jo Brand's advice

I think first of all you need to think harder about all the elements you have described. You may think your husband is the best thing since the Chuckle Brothers but, as you point out, to your daughter he is an interloper and one, it seems, that she resents.

Obviously, we don’t know the circumstances of your remarriage, but it sounds as if your daughter is not finding it quite so easy to see the attraction of your new husband. Children will respond to pretty much anyone who is kind and funny, but you need to take your daughter’s feelings into account.

Rather than ‘pleading and explaining’, why not meet her for a coffee, just the two of you, and find out what she wants. If you barge ahead constantly trying to force the issue, you will end up alienating her altogether and, as we know, grandparents have no automatic legal rights whatsoever.

You have it within your power to repair this problem if you can just step back and empathise with your daughter, rather than prioritising your and your new husband’s feelings.

Read more of Jo Brand's down-to-earth advice

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.