If you haven’t seen your children for a long time, there’s no way of knowing how they’ll react on seeing you again. They may feel resentful or they may jump at the chance. There may be all sorts of reasons why you lost touch and there also may be some issues that you need to address about your feelings, priorities or lifestyle to help restore contact. Get back in touch and talk things through with your ex and the children first. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can start to rebuild contact.
Children can feel torn between wanting to get to know you better, whilst remaining loyal to the parent who has raised them. On the other hand, you need to prepare yourself for your child not wanting contact with you at first. If you still want to remain an influence in your children’s lives, there is information and support out there to help you deal with the issues that may be affecting you.
“I haven’t seen my children for ages – can I get back with them?”
“My daughter-in-law broke up the marriage and now she won’t let me see our grandchildren.”
“I moved away – how can I keep in touch with my children?
If you want to change the situation, don't let things drift anymore. You can talk to one of our Family Support Workers through our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222 to help you build bridges and confidence with your children and your ex. If you’ve moved away from easy contact with your children, arrange visits for weekends and holidays. You may be able to arrange to have them for longer at those times, too.
Keeping in touch
Consider finding a halfway spot you can meet at for the handover to cut down on travel costs for both of you. It’s a good idea to give your children a calendar, marked with the dates when you’ll be seeing each other. Send texts, emails, postcards and letters so they can have lots of reminders that you love them and are thinking of them. Be careful to stick to the arrangements you made and make every effort not to cancel or change them as this is really disappointing for the children. It’s not just parents and children who hurt when contact arrangements fall down.
The stability offered by grandparents and other relatives, such as aunts and uncles, can be such a help to children when their family changes, but it can make the situation even more difficult if they hear hostility or criticism when what they need is unreserved love and support. Grandparents and other relatives may find it difficult to stand back and not get involved with family arguments over separation, but it’s essential that they do. Nothing is more devastating than losing contact with your grandchildren completely. If you are a grandparent in this situation, consider contacting your son- or daughter-in-law to say that you are sorry for any past arguments and would just like to see your grandchildren.