INTRODUCTIONGreat Grandma Irwin: “It’s been awhile since you kids haveplayed ball…if you call them up they’ll cover over and playball with you…I like seeing you kids happy.”Me: It has been awhile since we last played kickball.Great Grandma Irwin: “Yah.. well.. it’s been awhile since I’vebeen happy.
EnthymemeI believe, grandparents should be able toget a court order to visit and maintain arelationship with their grandchildren forany reason, because if not, it can make thegrandparents feel like a stranger to theirown grandchildren, it takes away theirchance for closure before death, andeliminates opportunity for traditions to bepassed down.
Warrant“Historically, grandparents have had noconstitutional right to visitation with theirgrandchildren.” (http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/)“Ohio has authorized grandparentcompanionship or visitation rights by statute inthree circumstances: (1) when married parentsterminate their marriage or separate, (2) when aparent of a child is deceased, and (3) when thechild is born to an unmarried woman. In suchcases, a court may order reasonable visitation ifit is in the best interest of the child.”(http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/)
Reason #1There should be no restrictions against Grandparentsrequesting a court order to visit their grandchildren, because itcan make them feel like a dangerous stranger toward their owngrandchildren.• “Approximately 20 states have "restrictive" visitation statutes, meaning that generally only grandparents can get a court order for visitation -- and only if the childs parents are divorcing or if one or both parents have died.” (Grandparent and Caretaker Visitation Rights from http://www.nolo.com/)
Evidence #1In the article Grandparent’s Visitation Rights by Amy Goyer,she writes, “Grandparents are in every state and at everysocioeconomic level, and each of their situations is unique.But they have one thing in common: They are heartbrokento be kept away from their grandchildren.”• "They withhold my grandkids, which is one of the most painful things I have experienced." (interviewed grandparent)• "I raised my granddaughter the first four years of her life. She is now seven, and her mom wont let me see her or call. Im afraid she (my granddaughter) will feel abandoned.” (interviewed grandparent) (from http://www.aarp.org/)
Reason #2There should be no restrictions against Grandparentsrequesting a court order to visit their grandchildren, because ifthey can’t see their grandchildren it takes away their chance forclosure before death.Grandparents represent one-third of the population with 1.7million new grandparents added to the ranks every year.43% of grandparents became grandparents in theirfifties, 37% in their forties, with the average age ofgrandparents in this country at 48. (info from http://www.grandparents.com/)
Evidence #2According to http://www.grandparents.com/• 72% think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life• 63% say they can do a better job caring for grandchildren than they did with their own• 90% enjoy talking about their grandkids to just about everyone (statistics from http://www.grandparents.com/)In an article titled, How does a grandparent cope when deniedaccess to their grandchildren, by Sheree Zielke, she says:• “Its been called, the "living death." I cant credit the originator of that thought, but it is a perfect description for the pain a grandparent feels when denied access to their grandchild. The world becomes a thick gray blanket of hurt, so heavy and so cloying, it sometimes seems impossible to get out of bed. Let alone, get dressed and get on with daily life.” (from http://www.a-better-child.org/)
Reason #3There should be no restrictions against Grandparentsrequesting a court order to visit their grandchildren,because it eliminates opportunity for traditions to bepassed down.• “Historically, grandparents have had no constitutional right to visitation with their grandchildren.” (http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/)• “Ohio has authorized grandparent companionship or visitation rights by statute in three circumstances: (1) when married parents terminate their marriage or separate, (2) when a parent of a child is deceased, and (3) when the child is born to an unmarried woman. In such cases, a court may order reasonable visitation if it is in the best interest of the child.” (http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/)
Evidence #3• “As the family historian/living ancestor, grandparents share the stories of the past. These stories may be about relatives, important events, family traditions, the grandparents own childhood or the grandchilds parent growing up. As the stories of the family are passed on, the grandchild gains a positive image of aging and their place within the family. Grandparents and their stories can be the "glue" which keeps the family together and contributes to family identity.” (from GRANDPARENTS ROLE IN THE FAMILY at http://www.a-better-child.org/)
Alternative Opinion• What if the Grandparents are mentally unstable or dangerous?• Shouldn’t Grandparents be denied visitation rights if the parents of the child feel as though they would cause more harm than good for the child?
Response• Answer: It’s not that they should be automatically denied visitation rights, if they are dangerous then the parents and grandparents should take it to court and the court will decide the outcome of the Grandparents visitation rights. The court system has a checklist of requirements that differ depending on the state of residence.
Alternative Opinion• What if the child is still young enough that he is still his parents responsibility, but the child, personally, does not wish to spend time with his grandparents? Should the child be allowed to make that decision for himself and deny his own grandparents?
Response• Answer: I do not believe children should be able to decide whether their grandparents can visit them or not, because kids can easily be influenced by their, by their peers and whether or not their friends are close to their own grandparents, and are ultimately not mature to realize or appreciate the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents.
ConclusionWhen Grandparents are not permitted to get a court order tovisit and maintain a relationship with their Grandchildren itcan make them feel like dangerous strangers toward theirown grandchildren, it takes away their opportunity forclosure before death, and eliminates opportunity fortraditions to be passed down.I hope all of you have had an opportunity to talk to one ofyour grandparents and build a good relationship with one ofthem either in the past or present. I promise you don’t wantto miss your chance to spend time with your grandparents,because you may never know what you have until it is gone.