Other than praying, how can we be effective grandparents when our child is living with her boyfriend and they have decided to “cancel” us and allow us no contact whatsoever with them or our two granddaughters (they each have a different father, and the boyfriend is not father to either of them), while at the same time they are telling our granddaughters that we do not truly love them, and yet the granddaughters are anxious to see us?


It is a tough situation when family relationships become strained and disjointed. It’s evident from your words how much you love and miss your granddaughters. I’m sorry you’re facing this trial. Being disconnected from family, especially grandchildren, is heartbreaking. Let’s talk about what you can do to respond to a situation where you have limited options.

You mentioned that you’re already praying, and this is an excellent first step. But in addition to praying, it’s also important to be patient and steadfast, relying on the Lord’s timing. Remember the Lord’s counsel to, “Be still and know that I am God”[i]. I take great comfort in the fact that we aren’t the only parents to our children. President Harold B. Lee reminds us:

Sometimes we think the whole job is up to us, forgetful that there are loved ones beyond our sight who are thinking about us and our children. We forget that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who are even more concerned, probably, than our earthly father and mother, and that influences from beyond are constantly working to try to help us when we do all we can.[ii]

While you’re waiting, focus on improving yourself and maintaining a strong relationship with God. As Elder Dale G. Renlund said in the October 2020 General Conference, “The ultimate indicator of our progress and development is not based on what we do but on the desires of our hearts.”[iii] This period can be an opportunity to draw closer to Heavenly Father and grow in Christlike love and patience. As you’re filled with this charity, I’m confident it will change the way you see yourself, your daughter, and this entire situation.

Now, regarding the claims that you do not truly love your granddaughters, it is heart-wrenching to hear such things. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland reminds us that “pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world.”[iv] Remember, it’s not about proving to anyone that you love your granddaughters but about genuinely loving them from afar, in your prayers and in your heart. Trust in the Lord that He will soften hearts and bring the truth to light.

I recognize that your daughter doesn’t want you to have contact with the grandchildren, but will she allow you to communicate with her? If so, focus on sending messages of love and interest to your daughter and her boyfriend. You might disagree with her relationship choices, but as you take genuine interest in her and her relationship, she might feel less judged and criticized. It’s likely she already feels judged by you and others with her history of broken relationships. She simply might engage with the world from a defensive posture that would make it hard for anyone to get close to her. You might write letters to your granddaughters expressing your love and care for them. It’s important to avoid arguing or bringing up contentious issues in these communications.

If you treat your daughter as if she’s getting in your way and keeping you from what you really want, then she will likely feel objectified and disregarded. She was your daughter first and likely has wounds that need tending. Of course, I recognize that situations are often more complex than this, but I do see a lot of grandparents rushing past their own children to connect to the grandchildren, leaving their adult children feeling disregarded. Loving our adult children is often tougher than loving those sweet grandchildren.

Continue to extend invitations to your daughter and her boyfriend. These invitations can be for meals, holidays, or simple get-togethers. Let them know that your door is always open, and your love is unconditional. This aligns with Christ’s teachings where He said, “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”[v]

Be careful to not fixate so much on your grandchildren that you inadvertently give up on your daughter. Check yourself and look deep inside to see if there are unresolved injuries or offenses that need repair. Your daughter may be using her own children as her only leverage to send a protest signal that she’s hurting. While I don’t think it’s a good idea to use grandchildren in this way, it may be a signal that’s worth exploring.

I believe that sincere efforts are never wasted. President Russell M. Nelson reminds us that, “The Lord loves effort because effort brings rewards that can’t come without it.”[vi] Continue to try to love and reach out to your daughter and her children if she’ll allow it. In time, your genuine love and concern may help heal the rift.

Take heart, pray, and remember that your Heavenly Father loves your family, too. He knows your pains, and in His time, He can make things right. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”[vii]

Geoff will answer a new family and relationship question every Friday. You can email your question to him at ge***@ge**********.com  

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About the Author

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He is the co-author of “Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity”, host of the podcast, “From Crisis to Connection”, and creates online relationship courses. He earned degrees from Brigham Young University and Auburn University. He is married to Jody Young Steurer and they are the parents of four children.

The advice offered through Geoff Steurer’s column is educational and informational in nature and is provided only as general information. It is not meant to establish a therapist-patient relationship or offer therapeutic advice, opinion, diagnosis treatment or to establish a standard of care. Although Geoff Steurer is a trained psychotherapist, he is not functioning in the role of a licensed therapist by writing this column, but rather using his training to inform these responses. Thus, the content is not intended to replace independent professional judgment. The content is not intended to solicit clients and should not be relied upon as medical or psychological advice of any kind or nature whatsoever. The information provided through this content should not be used for diagnosing or treating a mental health problem or disease. The information contained in these communications is not comprehensive and does not include all the potential information regarding the subject matter, but is merely intended to serve as one resource for general and educational purposes.

[i] D&C 101:16

[ii] Harold B. Lee, “The Influence and Responsibility of Women,” Relief Society Magazine 51 (February 1964): 85. At this time, Harold B. Lee was serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and made these remarks during the October general Relief Society meeting.



[v] Matthew 5:44


[vii] Romans 8:28