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When unmarried grandchildren have babies

Created date

October 26th, 2010

There s an expression Don t cut off your nose to spite your face. Some grandparents become so upset when one (or more) of their grandchildren have a baby without getting married that they declare they don t want to have anything more to do with them. I understand that part of the reasoning behind this approach is that they think they can influence the young couple to get married. But you know what? It won t work. First of all, in America today, for the first time ever, there are more young people in the 25-34 age bracket who have never been married than those who are. I m not saying marriage is pass , but it s certainly waning among this age group. And with so many couples living together in an unmarried state, there is zero peer pressure to get married. Twenty years ago, the extra pressure a grandparent might exert on a couple could possibly have some influence. But today that s just not true, unless perhaps you happen to have a sizeable estate you threaten to withdraw. As to the cutting off your nose part, if you fight with these young people, you ll miss out on the joy of great-grandparenting. And worse, your great-grandchild will miss out on all that you have to offer. It s not the child s fault his or her parents didn t stand before an altar or justice of the peace. If this state of affairs upsets you, you shouldn t bottle it up. They re your grandchildren, and you have a right to speak your mind. But once you ve had your say and gotten your feelings of frustration off your chest, you have to lay them aside. And if your adult child their parent is making a big fuss over this, you should try to play peacemaker. I m not saying I m in favor of people having children who aren t married, but I m also not in favor of earthquakes; the truth is, in 2010 you don t have much more power over your grandchildren s marital status than you do over earthquakes. But if you don t hold yourself in check, you could start an earthquake within your family that will be damaging to everyone concerned.

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