With so many hundreds of different groups and organisations giving so many different views on Parental Alienation or Estrangement it sometimes can become quite overwhelming and if I am honest hugely depressing.
Most are so critical about all aspects, which although totally understandable, make it very difficult reading.
Obviously there is nothing joyful about alienation, in fact it is those who are facing the awfulness of it all that makes them seek out such groups.
Everyone needs to know the facts, needs to know the damage caused,
I know when I was first looking for help, the last thing I wanted was to see or read the most negative of it all, yes it is of course by the nature of the beast, a negative place to be.
I am not sure how those who constantly discredit every and all aspects of the very authorities that are supposed to be helping children, actually supports or helps those who are feeling that life is not worth living.
Yes, all of us who have worked for many years and have had first hand experience know how the system lets the children down, and yes we have to raise the awareness of that, as indeed I also try to do.
The concern for me is that parents and grandparents need help, they need to know they are being listened to, they don’t need to hear those who are apparently there to support, actually talk about their own issues, if asked I will tell people why I set up BGSG but I do not make it personal, it is not about me, and it never has been.
I heard yesterday from one group that giving up is not an option.
In some circumstances, it is absolutely the right thing to take a back seat for the time being. Every family is different and there is no one size fits all.
When I am asked by grandparents about how to set up a group, I stress that there are certain things never to do.
One is never give legal advice, you are not a lawyer or trained in the law, giving the wrong advice can be catastrophic.
Actually you are not there to give advice, but to support.
Most importantly of all.
You will have parents/grandparents who contact you who are having suicidal thoughts, this is incredibly distressing but again you are not trained to deal with this, you must suggest that they contact https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us if necessary follow it up with a call to make sure they have done so.
Never discuss conversations you have had with parents/grandparents, confidentiality is vital. All too often stories get shared without the permission of those concerned.
We can not change individual situations, we must be a place where people can feel safe, a place where support is the forefront of what we do, to also give a message of hope.
If you are looking for militant, aggressive and an inflammatory place, then Bristol Grandparents Support Group is not the place for you.
Make sure you are hearing facts not fiction.