For far too many years the issue of family breakdown and the damage done to children has been kicked into the long grass, we have to have a new approach.
Those of us involved in the world of estrangement know only too well what a cesspit it is.
Mention the word alienation and prepare to have your head blown well and truly off.
It is not for the faint hearted.
For 13 years I and others have worked so hard to raise awareness, to get the issue in the public eye, even getting as far as having a debate at Westminster, but things have not changed, children are still suffering emotional abuse.
There is absolutely no doubt that if you talked about two million children suffering from neglect or physical abuse, the entire nation would be up in arms, demanding for something to be done. Men and women would work together to improve the situation for these children.
But, start the conversation with the word alienation and be prepared for vicious vitriol from all quarters to begin.
The same is true with the words Grandparents Rights, for years groups and organisation were banging the grandparents rights drum, and got nowhere.
As I have said before, I don’t like the word rights, but for now it is the only one that anyone gets.
Is it time to start a new rhetoric?
We all know that our Family Law system is frankly not fit for purpose, so maybe it’s time to think about family breakdown in a totally new way.
Everything takes far too long, within that time the damage to millions of children is allowed to thrive.
Every child needs both parents in their lives, they love them both, they want to have all their extended family in their lives. It is not for a child to choose, why on earth are we even suggesting it?
It is very easy to get entrenched in a way of thinking, and just follow along with others, but we are the grown ups and need to have the courage to say,
Enough is enough, our children are suffering.
Family breakdown will always occur, it has for centuries, for many different reasons. We can’t prevent that but there should be a system to be there to help couples who are experiencing problems and help them to get through the minefield of separation and divorce. The focus being on the children, to have things in place to make this transition as quick and humane as possible. The children must know that they are loved by all their family, and everything will be done to help and support them.
At present it is inhumane.
Professionals in their field all have words and language they use within that profession, but if they are talking to the non professional the words they use will be different.
Is it time to stop using the word alienation?
I know many will feel that is impossible, but the past shows us that it isn’t working.
The instant response, as you will all know from others, when you say you are alienated from your grandchildren, will more often that not be .
Well, you must have done something.
Does the attitude change if we say something like,
I am unable to see my grandchildren,
Sometimes we have to think of a different phrase or word, you may think it doesn’t make sense but I can certainly tell you if you speak to the media and start by saying,
I am alienated from my grandchildren
The barriers come up at once.
Of course there are many thousands of you who find yourself in this situation not because of separation or divorce but your own adult children have decided to remove you from their lives. Which for me is where education needs to play its part.
To make that sort of behaviour as socially unacceptable as drink driving, it has to be down to education.
As I have explained more than once, we need to be educating very small children that they have responsibilities as they grow up, to make sure they always put their children first within their adult relationships, children love both parents and extended family.
The damage that is caused by being denied contact with a parent is plain to see, no self esteem or self worth, not trusting adults in their lives, self harm and insecurities.
Maybe we need to think more like children, to enable us to fully understand how the loss of a parent this way is never forgotten.
Everyone involved in separation in all its forms needs support from multi agencies, to act quickly.
What is paramount, or at least it should be, is the welfare and well-being of the children.
It is adults who bring children into this world, it up to adults to do what is right at all times, for the children.
Adults are there to protect all children, not to destroy them.