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Section: aging, family, health-and-wellness

Dear Ann Landers,
In a recent case, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that parents alone make the decision whether or not grandparents may see their grandchildren. I am a pastor and counselor in Florida. For years, I have been privy to the horror stories of seniors whose grandchildren are used as bargaining chips in an effort to control wealth and influence relationships. Since nothing is more precious to seniors than their grandchildren, the threat goes like this: "If you don't agree to do this or that, you will never see your grandchildren again." If the grandparents don't cave in, the result is often total abandonment. Florida is filled with happy retirees with good relationships, but there are also hundreds of seniors, who are forgotten and warehoused in nursing homes or trailer parks. Their only connection to family members is the outdated pictures of grandkids whom they never get to know. This is a tragedy. Everybody loses. -- Dr. R.S., Ridge Manor, Fla.

Dear Dr. R.S.,
Thanks for the words of wisdom. I hope the children who are neglecting their elderly parents will ask themselves, "Could this be me?" The answer is "Probably."

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

JJ's Comment
Not all grandparents should be in a child's life. It is nice to think that all grandparents are kind, loving and have the child's best interest at heart, but, through personal experience, I can tell you that is not the case.

EndGrandparentsRights's Comment
If grandparents want to see their grandchildren, it stands to reason that they should maintain a good relationship with their children. So many narcissistic, controlling people try to control every facet of their children's lives, even when they become adults. Those same people will blame all disagreements on their adult children and try to control them by invoking "grandparents rights". Maybe if these people would work on themselves more and stop trying to control everyone else, their adult children and grandchildren would gladly stay in their lives.
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"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass."
-Ann Landers