Protecting a Child from Family Members

 
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Dear Jane,
My mother and I have not spoken for several years. I have no desire to reestablish a relationship with her, but I recently had a daughter of my own (she’s 3 months old) and I don’t think it’s fair to her to not know one of her grandparents. (She does spend time with my father.) I have legitimate concerns for the well being of my daughter spending time alone with my mom and stepfather, but feel I should give her the opportunity to establish a good relationship with them if it is possible. Should I wait until she’s older? How long is that?

It is time to transition from being your mother’s daughter to being your daughter’s mother. If you choose your mother over your daughter, would you perhaps be reenacting whatever betrayal you suffered? If you have legitimate concerns, why would you consider putting your daughter at risk in exchange for the hope that something won’t happen?

It sounds as though you haven’t really fully acknowledged the severity of whatever occurred that caused you to sever your relationship with your mother. In my experience, children don’t break off a relationship with a parent unless they have strong reason to do so. In Enough Is Enough, I address the importance of acknowledging the wrongs that were done to us so that we don’t re-create the same situation for our children and so that we can forgive at a deeper level.

You say you have no desire to reestablish a relationship with your mother. If that is the case, then let it go for now. Or see if you and your mother can work on your relationship with professional help. But do not use your daughter as a “peace offering.” If you want your daughter to have contact with her grandparents, be there with her. Don’t put a time limit on this arrangement. You are responsible for your daughter’s safety and your loyalty belongs with her, not with your mother.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

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