Narcissistic Daughter Withholding Grandchildren
Narcissistic Daughter Withholding Grandchildren

Dealing with a narcissistic daughter who is withholding access to your beloved grandchildren can be an emotionally challenging and distressing situation.

As a grandparent, you long for the joy of spending time with your grand kids, creating lasting memories, and nurturing a loving bond. However, understanding how to reason with a narcissistic daughter requires a strategic and empathetic approach that takes into account the complex dynamics involved.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the intricacies of dealing with a narcissistic daughter withholding grandchildren and provide actionable advice on how to navigate this difficult situation.

Understanding Narcissism and its Impact on Family Dynamics

What is Narcissism?

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Individuals with narcissistic traits often exhibit grandiosity, entitlement, and a preoccupation with their own achievements and appearance.

However, it’s important to note that narcissism exists on a spectrum, and not every individual with narcissistic traits will display the same behaviors or severity of symptoms.

How Does Narcissism Affect Family Dynamics?

When narcissism comes into play within the context of family dynamics, it can create significant challenges and disruptions. A narcissistic daughter may prioritize her own needs and desires above those of her children or extended family members.

This self-centeredness can lead to a strained relationship between the narcissistic daughter and her parents, particularly when it comes to access to the grandchildren.

The impact of narcissism on family dynamics is further exacerbated by deep-seated insecurities, a low self-esteem masked by an inflated ego, and a sensitivity to criticism. Individuals with narcissistic traits often struggle with limited empathy, making it difficult for them to truly understand and prioritize the needs and emotions of others.

Their learned narcissism may have been influenced by domineering authority figures during their upbringing, leading to a distorted view of relationships and conditional affection.

What To Do: When Reasoning with Your Narcissistic Daughter

Navigating a relationship with a narcissistic daughter and addressing the issue of grandchildren requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Here are actionable steps to consider:

1. Remain Calm and Composed

When engaging in discussions with your narcissistic daughter, it’s important to maintain your composure. Emotional exhaustion may tempt you to react impulsively or engage in heated arguments, but responding with calmness and clarity will increase the chances of reaching a resolution. Take deep breaths, ground yourself, and approach the conversation with a clear mind.

2. Use Empathetic Communication

Empathy is a powerful tool when reasoning with a narcissistic individual. While it may be challenging to empathize with your daughter’s behavior, expressing understanding and acknowledging her perspective can create a more receptive atmosphere for communication.

Validate her feelings while also asserting your own needs and concerns. Use phrases like, “I understand that you have your reasons, but it’s important for us to find a way to ensure the grandchildren’s well-being.”

3. Ask Your Daughter to Think About the Grandchildren’s Best Interests

Appealing to your daughter’s sense of care and concern for the grandchildren’s well-being can be an effective approach. Encourage her to reflect on how her actions may impact their emotional development and long-term relationship with their grandparents.

Highlight the importance of a healthy and supportive family environment for the children’s growth and happiness. For example, you could say, “I know you love the grandchildren deeply, and it would mean the world to them to have a strong and loving relationship with both of us. Let’s work together to create a positive environment for their growth.”

4. Offer a Compromise

Suggesting an agreeable arrangement that allows both parties to have their needs met can be a productive step forward. Propose a compromise that balances your desire to spend time with the grandchildren while respecting your daughter’s boundaries.

For example, you could propose scheduled visitation times or alternating weekends. Be open to negotiation and finding a middle ground that both parties can agree upon.

5. Accept a Compromise (if one is offered to you)

If your narcissistic daughter offers a compromise, carefully consider the proposal. While it may not be exactly what you hoped for, being willing to accept a reasonable compromise shows your commitment to finding a resolution and maintaining a relationship with your daughter and grandchildren.

Evaluate the compromise with an open mind and consider the potential benefits it may offer for your relationship with your grandchildren.

6. Agree to Boundaries that Your Narcissistic Daughter Might Impose

Navigating a relationship with a narcissistic individual often requires accepting certain boundaries they may impose. While it is essential to prioritize the grandchildren’s well-being, being open to reasonable limits or conditions set by your daughter can contribute to a more harmonious interaction.

Respect her need for control while ensuring your grand-parenting role is acknowledged and valued. For example, if your daughter requests that you refrain from discussing certain topics, agree to those boundaries in order to maintain a more peaceful and constructive relationship.

7. Document Interactions

Keeping a record of your interactions with your daughter can provide a valuable reference in case the situation escalates or legal action becomes necessary.

Maintain a written log of conversations, agreements, and any relevant incidents that occur during your attempts to reason with your narcissistic daughter. This documentation can serve as evidence of your efforts to resolve the issue amicably and protect your rights as a grandparent.

8. Involve Other Family Members

In some cases, involving other family members who can serve as mediators or provide support can be beneficial. A united front can help communicate the importance of maintaining a healthy and nurturing relationship between the grandparents and grandchildren.

However, it is crucial to approach this step with caution and ensure that all parties involved can contribute constructively to the situation. Choose individuals who can remain impartial and focused on finding a resolution.

9. Take Care of Yourself

Dealing with a narcissistic daughter withholding grandchildren can take a toll on your emotional well-being. It’s important to prioritize self-care and seek emotional support from friends, therapists, or support groups.

Take care of your own mental and physical health by engaging in activities that bring you joy and provide a sense of peace. This self-care will enable you to better navigate this challenging situation and remain resilient.

What NOT To Do: When Reasoning with Your Narcissistic Daughter

While understanding the positive actions to take is essential, it’s equally crucial to be aware of what not to do when reasoning with a narcissistic daughter. Here are behaviors to avoid:

1. Make Personal Attacks

Engaging in personal attacks or criticizing your daughter’s character is unlikely to yield positive results. Instead, focus on the specific issue at hand and the impact it has on the grandchildren and family dynamics. Keep the conversation focused on finding a resolution rather than resorting to blame or personal attacks.

2. React Emotionally

Allowing your emotions to dictate your responses can escalate conflicts and hinder effective communication. Stay composed and respond thoughtfully to maintain a constructive dialogue. Take a moment to pause and gather your thoughts before responding, especially when faced with provocation or manipulation.

3. Engage in Power Struggles (you will lose!)

Attempting to engage in power struggles with a narcissistic individual is often a losing battle. They may manipulate, gaslight, or use other tactics to maintain control.

Focus on finding common ground and promoting a healthier relationship rather than attempting to win an argument. Maintain your integrity and avoid getting entangled in power dynamics.

4. Blame or Guilt-Trip Your Daughter

Shaming or guilt-tripping your daughter will likely further strain the relationship. Instead, focus on expressing your feelings, concerns, and desires in a non-confrontational manner. Use “I” statements to communicate how her actions impact you and the grandchildren, without placing blame or guilt on her.

5. Ignore Boundaries

Respecting boundaries, even if they are set by a narcissistic daughter, is crucial for maintaining some level of connection. Pushing boundaries or disregarding them altogether can lead to further hostility and alienation. Show respect for her boundaries, while also ensuring your own needs as a grandparent are acknowledged and met.

6. Enlist Others to Confront or Condemn

While involving other family members can be helpful, it’s important to avoid seeking allies solely to confront or condemn your daughter. The goal should be to find a resolution through constructive dialogue, not to escalate tensions or create division within the family. Focus on fostering understanding and empathy rather than creating an adversarial environment.

7. Use Your Grandchildren as Pawns

Using the grandchildren as leverage or pawns in attempts to manipulate your daughter is detrimental to their well-being. It is essential to protect them from being caught in the middle of conflicts and to prioritize their emotional stability. Shield them from the tensions between you and your daughter and provide them with a safe and loving environment.

8. React with Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Responding to your daughter’s actions with passive-aggressive behavior will only exacerbate the situation. Maintain open and direct communication while addressing any concerns or issues with clarity and respect. Passive-aggressive behavior can escalate conflicts and hinder the progress towards resolution.

9. Expect Immediate Change

Change takes time, especially when dealing with deep-rooted patterns of behavior associated with narcissism. Avoid expecting immediate transformation or a complete turnaround from your daughter.

Patience and perseverance are key in navigating this challenging relationship. Be prepared for incremental progress and focus on maintaining open lines of communication and understanding.


Reasoning with a narcissistic daughter who is withholding access to your grandchildren is a complex and emotionally challenging situation. By understanding the nature of narcissism and its impact on family dynamics, you can approach the situation with empathy and a strategic mindset.

Remember to remain calm, use empathetic communication, and focus on the best interests of the grandchildren. While finding a resolution may require compromise and accepting certain boundaries, the ultimate goal is to cultivate a healthy relationship with your daughter and provide a nurturing environment for your grandchildren to thrive.

By following the recommended actions and avoiding common pitfalls, you can navigate this challenging situation with grace and resilience. Remember to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed.

With patience and persistence, it is possible to reach a more harmonious and fulfilling relationship with your narcissistic daughter while maintaining a loving connection with your grandchildren.