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by Abigail Van Buren

Access to Daughters Is Denied as Punishment for Grandparents

DEAR ABBY: Our oldest son, "Jim," has a history of turning his back on people once he has used them, which has left us in financial ruin. Our most recent bailout went to our younger son, who went into business with Jim. To make a long story short, Jim was greedy and impatient and plundered the company funds, which left the business destroyed.

Jim and his wife have now disowned us and are holding our two granddaughters "hostage" as punishment because we told them what he did was wrong. My husband, who adopted both of my sons, is devastated because Jim has now contacted his biological father and no longer acknowledges the only father he has known.

I have been labeled the "horrible" woman who "hurt her son deeply" and whose granddaughters will be told "the truth" when they're old enough to decide if they want a relationship with me.

We are heartsick. How do we handle this, and what do we do regarding our granddaughters and our relationship with them? -- SAD DAY IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SAD DAY: Handle it by reminding yourselves that you did the best job you could in raising both your sons, and that despite a parent's best efforts, not all children turn out the way their parents hope they will. Keep the lines of communication open for your granddaughters by sending them cards and/or gifts on special occasions to let them know you love and think about them.

You also go on with your lives and devote yourselves to each other and to the son who returns your affection, because to do anything else is a waste of time. What you DON'T do is continue dwelling on your heartache and disappointment and allow yourselves to be dragged down.

P.S. Do not write Jim and his wife off just yet, because bad pennies usually turn up.