Hi everyone and welcome to Bristol Grandparents Support Group blog. Although we are Bristol based we have grandparents from all over the UK and beyond as members.

It is estimated that over one million children in the UK are denied contact with their grandparents due to family breakdown which may have been caused by divorce/separation, alcohol/drug dependency,domestic violence,bereavement or family feud.
Every child has the right to have contact with their grandparents
if they wish and unless proven unsafe for them to do so. To deny contact from a parent or grandparent has to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
I hope to keep you up to date with what is going on in BGSG and I shall continue to campaign for the rights of children to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents and their extended family. So please join in as good to hear your views, not just mine!
I also will support via Skype.
There is no membership fee to be part of Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
Esther Rantzen says, " To every grandparent, links of love can never be broken in our hearts."

Please contact during office hours.

Friday 22 February 2013

No apologies, but you need to act now!

The Children and Family Bill, now before Parliament, has clauses to promote the rights of children to both their parents, unless there is a reason against. It will not remove the problems our children and ourselves are suffering, but it will be the biggest step in the right direction. It would not have happened without people constantly writing to MP's etc, but we must also thank Tim Loughton MP, recently dismissed as Minister for Children for promoting it and his successor, Edward Timpson, for continuing with it. 
These clauses are being opposed. Members of Parliament will be being having many postbags packed by parents who have achieved possession of their children who have been organised to say how fearful they are of the ‘other parent’, how the problem is not the other parent’s lack of rights, but their lack of wish to be involved and so on. 
The point needs to be put that this is not, the full picture.

Even if you feel I have said it all before, it doesn't matter write again.

Could you please, if you can, get in touch with your MP ? 
Generations of children should thank you if you can help.

Just a few pointers:
DO be respectful, courteous. Whatever your opinion of politicians – or this one – there is a job to be done. That is to get their support for these clauses. We all know how much harder it is to resist the requests of someone charming than someone offhand or rude. Our children need the sympathy and support of this MP. 
DO keep to the one issue. The issue is the right of children whose parent don’t live together to have a relationship with both of them – unless that would put them at risk. Nearly all of us have a range of views on other issues – political, social, moral, Faith and so on – that we might like our MP to share. The Shared Parenting movement has support from nearly all  of these points of view, but is united on the one issue, that parenting should be shared between parents. Bracketing shared parenting in your case with other views you may have risks, at best, distracting from this issue. At worst it might make the MP think that this demand is linked with other views that s/he might not share. 
DO be child centred. We need to present the issue as one of the rights of children to both their parents. Check what you speak or write, for example, that you do not say you are prevented from seeing your children. Say they are being prevented from spending time with you. 
DO concentrate on the personal story and situation. The sociological arguments, the details of the draft clauses and so on, are best dealt with by experts. Mention them if you are one. What tends to impress MPs is what has happened to their constituents and that it indicates a need for change along the lines proposed.
DON’T be negative, especially about your ex. There will of course be occasions when mother possession should be replaced by father possession or vice-versa, but the normal situation should be for the children to have the best blend of both. Don’t let the MP think he/she is just being given the view of one party to personal spat, if you can show that have risen above the personal hostility there often is in family disputes, your concern for the welfare of your children will be more effective.
DON’T ask for equality of parenting time. Most of us want that, but one of the arguments against the improvement we are currently supporting is that it may lead to a demand or expectation of equal shares. This is an objective that many potential supporters of this proposed improvement are not yet ready to go along with. The route to equality is NOT to ask for it as a parental right, but to say that parenting time arrangements need to deliver certain benefits to the children - ones which cannot be met without serious sharing of their time.
 MPs prefer the people coming to them to be ‘genuine’ and ‘spontaneous’ rather than suspecting that they are agents of a ‘cause’. 
DO be scrupulously truthful. The MP may make further enquiries, and if there is ‘another side’ that comes out, not only will you lose credibility, but so will the cause as a whole. There is only one exception to this – some of us have stories so extreme that those people who have not had direct experience of them simply will not believe them. You may need to counter this incredulity, perhaps by toning them down a little.
DO be measured and balanced in your language. Extreme words and florid expressions risk driving the recipient of the message into thinking that they say more about the author that about their experience. The purpose is not to get your feelings out, but to have the right effect on the recipient. 


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