Sometimes it is necessary to be courageous and say things that many people wont like.
Over 14 years, BGSG has supported estranged grandparents, just in the last two years BGSG has received over 500 calls to our Helpline and hundreds of emails etc. Within those 14 years nothing has changed, grandchildren are still suffering from being denied contact with their extended family.
I personally have been criticised many times, had abuse thrown in my direction and back stabbing by the very people I try to support, so I already know how it feels.
We are told that we don’t do enough, that we don’t support a change in the law ect. For me the only reason for there to be a change in the law, is to put it up there in the public eye, and raise awareness, so I also know that at the moment it is the only way to do that.
By there being some form of legislation it would highlight the responsibility we all have towards children’s relationship with all their family members, for their welfare.
I have explained my thoughts on the law process many, many times, and I still say court is not the place to resolve family breakdown.
As a grandparent said at my last zoom meeting, “You can’t make someone love you.”
As I keep repeating this is not about rights, it is about responsibility.
Education is key.
Having said all that, if nothing has changed over 14 years, we need to accept that the present system is not working, so the system has to change.
We hear the same rhetoric over and over again, so that needs to change also.
The same language being used.
What we can all agree about is that this is all about the children.
Frankly, that is all that matters.
It is an adults responsibility to ensure that all family relationships with their children are maintained, even if our own relationship with that person is not good. (Unless there is a proven safe guarding issue.)
This applies to families who are going through a separation/divorce but also were families have broken down for all the other reasons that occur.
For years the term Parental /Grandparent Alienation has been used by many, but is it time to rethink our language we are using?
PA in particular has become toxic, mention PA on social media and immediately the abuse starts.
It is not that I am afraid of standing up for something I feel passionate about, it is purely that it causes conflict in itself.
Over the world there are countless groups all wanting to make the well-being of children paramount, but somewhere this message has got caught up in this whirlpool of these two words that dredge up the very worst in people.
For me it has been a very long and sometimes painful journey, and as I continue along this rocky path, I will endeavour to change the language and the rhetoric.
When we know that the direction we have been travelling is the wrong way, we need to have the courage to change that direction.
At present we are fire fighters within the breakdown of families, as was said to me, metaphorically, we continually pull out the bodies at the bottom of the river, we need to make sure that we are at the top of that waterfall grabbing people before they plunge down into the turbulence.
All agencies need to be there to help and support all family members, putting the children first and their well-being above everything else.
We need to stop shouting about rights and to educate about responsibility.