Not all plain sailing

Looking back over the last 11 1/2 years on my journey with Bristol Grandparents Support Group, there have been highs and lows, as there are in most things in life.

Certainly I was very naive at the beginning, I thought that everyone would be working towards the same ends, doing the best for our grandchildren, and that we could all join together and be a really powerful voice, that has not necessarily been the case.

I discovered very early on that groups and organisations are run by those who actually are only interested in promoting themselves, and only their point of view counts.

If you happen to disagree or challenge someone the tables turn on you.

The very people you have supported, in some cases for several years, become aggressive and accuse you of all sorts of stuff. Those that may have had false allegations made against them, start to do the same thing.

It is of course really distressing when this happens, but you have to concentrate on the bigger picture.

We all know that there are now literally hundreds of support groups all over the UK and beyond, all stating they are supporting estranged and alienated family members, it has become a competitive place to be.

Everyone is free to belong to any group they wish, as far as I know we still live with freedom of choice.

Everyone is looking for something different.

There is certainly plenty out there to choose from.

All the infighting and verbal abuse that takes place does nothing at all for the grandchildren we are all supposed to be being the voice of, in fact it takes away any credibility that we may have had.

So that may be just a few of the lows, but it is the highs that I focus on.

Over the years it has been a privilege to meet some wonderful grandparents.

I have made friends for life.

If Bristol Grandparents Support Group has in some small way empowered grandparents then that is great, you are all valued and have a voice.

Being able to travel alongside grandparents in their most darkest of times to the moments that they thought they would never see, to share in the utter joy when they are reunited with their grandchildren, is just so humbling.

Of course not all grandparents will be reunited with their grandchildren, the damage that has been inflicted is just to deep to heal. That is where BGSG supporting role is so vital, allowing grandparents space and time, knowing that we are still here and we won’t let them go.

They are not alone.

Running a support group above all you need to listen, never judge, and never say you have heard it all before.

There are those who offer therapy, those who offer legal advice, those who offer the world, when actually what grandparents really want is for someone to walk along this uneven path with them, not necessarily saying anything at all, just holding out a hand of friendship.

Above all we need to be working with the child’s best interest at the heart of everything we do, not our own best interest.





About Jane

Jane setup Bristol Grandparent Support Group in 2007 after a string of incidents led to the loss of contact with her Grand Daughter.

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