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.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Children Screaming to be Heard Conference.



What if the memories are false?

We all know as we get older our memories are not a sharp as they used to be, but what about when someone says things about us that we know are absolutely untrue and yet a family member or friend insists that certain behaviour occurred, particularly when we were children.
Is it actually possible that they have false memories?
Recently people who are seeking support from 'experts' have begun a series of sessions of regression. My understanding is that it is it involves looking at things that may have happened earlier in your life which causes problems in present life.
I have my own person views on this, which I will keep to myself, but is it possible that it is responsible for families being accused of things that they absolutely refute?
Here is a link which you may find interesting.


Privacy Settings.

When I get emails from people I do reply as soon as possible, certainly within 24hours.
Sometimes when I reply they bounce straight back, this could be because the email comes from my website address and if your privacy settings are high you won't receive them.
If you have contacted me and have not had a response that could be why.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

San Diego California.

Ok so this is a long shot, but I know we have grandparents all over the world who read this blog so, if you are in San Diego can you get in touch as have a grandparent who would like some support.


Monday, 23 June 2014

Your sunshine journal.

Grandparents who find themselves being denied contact with their grandchildren are in turmoil, not knowing what to do.
After the initial shock of it all comes a feeling of numbness and disbelief.
As time moves on feelings change and we all find different ways of coping with our grief.
As I have written before you can keep a memory box, write a blog to your grandchildren, keeping a journal of your feelings will sometimes help.
It can be very easy for everything we write to be negative, so why not along side your journal of innermost thoughts you write a journal of all that is positive in your life.
We can become consumed with the heartbreak of it all, and the continuing desperation, but I will  almost guarantee that something good and positive happens to you every single day, by recording the great things it empowers us to carry on.


Grandparents are seen as an afterthought.

According to cloudBuy a social care marketplace provider, 2/3rds of people admit that they could do more to look after elderly relatives.
Many said that their parents and grandparents are an afterthought and they often cancel visits if something more exciting comes up.
I think that rather says it all.
What society are we living in when parents and grandparents are seen as an after thought, I despair.


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Not all publicity is good publicity.

Over the last 7 years I have learnt a thing or two about working with all forms of media.
Newspapers and magazines are looking for sensationalisation, true life stories are what they are of course interested in, it is what people buy the tabloids and mags for, to read about people and their stories.
They tend to be the sort of mags that you pick up in the hairdressers, for a quick flick through.
In my experience most journalists are not actually interested in you they are just trying to sell a story, the more anger, tears emotional turmoil the better it sells.
Often there are mistakes, artistic license and in some cases total untruths.
When you embark on the rocky road to of telling your story, be prepared for many phone calls, emails all going over the details only to be told at the very last minute that they have changed their minds.
Always start your conversation by saying, "You have checked this with your legal dept have you?" if they say no, then say,"Well when you have and got clearance then I will talk to you."
I have lost count of how many hours I have spent over 7 years, going over and over our story, it takes its toll, it is hard to keep on talking about such a difficult situation.
If you are approached either directly or indirectly, be prepared.
Also be prepared for the horrible comments that people write about you, I learnt very quickly never to scroll down to comments, people who had never met me, wrote serious personal insults, not only about me but my whole family.
Do your research into the particular journalist you are talking to, are they freelance? Do they work for a reputable paper or magazine?
Not all publicity is a good thing.
Be cautious.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Revenge is never sweet.

When we find ourselves in a situation where we have been hurt so dramatically by being denied contact from our grandchildren, it can become so all encompassing that we think revenge is the answer, taken over by the red mist affect.
Everyone deals with this in different ways.
Many people think that Karma will prevail, that you get back what you give out and that can be interpreted to mean that bad things will happen to the perpetrators, is that what we really want?
Here is a scenario to think about.
If it is your daughter/son who has chosen to deny you contact and you hear that they have become ill or are in trouble in some way, what would you do?
As  Mum or Dad will you ignore them, cast them aside, give them no help in other words allow their bad Karma.
Does that make us happy, to think of them suffering?
Or do we do what parents do, love them unconditionally, forgive but not forget the hurt they have caused, support and help them during their tough time?
It may well be that after their crisis, we find ourselves back where we were, with conflict rising its ugly head again, but you did the right thing, you did what being a parent is all about, we can not be responsible for other peoples actions and behaviours but we can be responsible for our own.


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Your grandchildren will not forget you.

There are many things that grandparents tell me they are worried about, one of the things that almost every single grandparent I speak to say is, "My grandchildren will forget us."
Please be rest assured that they won't.
Having worked in education for over 15 years, working with children, I can honestly say they will not forget you.
Whilst a child is going through all of this conflict and uncertainty, they will protect themselves.
They know that if they say what a good time they had with granny and grandpa, they will often get into trouble for even mentioning them.
So they don't.
The children have to deal with the cards they are dealt, so they will adapt and if you like 'tow the party line' it makes it easier for them on a daily basis.
I know of some children , as they have got  older,  go to some extremes to get what they want.
They do and have put  enormous pressure on a parent/parents to make it clear that they want a relationship with their grandparents.
The children do remember the times you took them to the sea side and went rock pooling, the times you showed them how to plant things and how to look after them.
It is not the materialistic things they remember with affection but it is the time you spent together just doing stuff.
So please never ever think they will forget you, they won't.


Sign petition for charter for Children and Fathers.

You do not have to live in wales to sign.



Penelope Leach 'expert' ,disgraceful.

This is one of the most damaging, despicable thing I have read for a long time, I am referring to Penelope Leach's remarks.


Asda Filton Bristol charity collection.

Thanks to Asda Filton Bristol who have chosen BGSG as one of their community charities for July.
If you are in Bristol and shop in that branch picking up a green token and popping it in the charity box in the foyer would be great.
We will also be doing a charity collection day at the branch on Thursday 10th July from 10am-4pm, do stop and have a chat with us.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

To forgive and forget are two different things.

We all find ourselves in this living bereavement of lost contact constantly asking ourselves questions. Why? How? What did we do?  There are so many more.
Of course we can go on and on asking these questions, perhaps never finding the answers.
Grandparents will often say, I will never forgive and forget, either my son/daughter or son-in-law/daughter-in-law for what they have done.
Ok, so if we carry around this thought what is it doing to us?
Firstly, for me, forgiveness and forgetting are two completely different things.
To forgive someone for their actions, in fact can release us from those thoughts that eat away at us daily, hurting us, it has no effect on the perpetrators.
We will never forget what has happened, it is part of our life.
So how do we start the forgiveness process?
In the book by Desmond Tutu, below, it is suggested that we use a fourfold path to help to heal ourselves.
This is my slant on it.
We need to look at what has happened in the form of it being our story, so get yourself a book or journal to write in, begin your story as you would when writing any story, with a beginning a middle and an end.
It can be as long or short as you like, it is your story so it is personal, don't think about spelling, grammar ect just write it down as it is, be truthful and honest.
So you will have characters, places and events.
Once that is done, then write down how everything in your story is effecting your life.
This part may be the most difficult part, I didn't say it was easy, time for the forgiveness part. The problem of not forgiving in our own minds, has such a detrimental affect on us all, we become almost governed by it. We might be constantly angry looking for retribution of some sort.
But is that the answer, to wish the perpetrators of this harm?
When we reach the place that we can say, "Ok, I forgive you, and wish you no harm." ~ I don't mean that you have to actually say this to them, it is about you, and what is going on inside your head~
you can then mentally be released from all of the hurt.

Now I know that many will read this and shout very loudly at their computers, it is just an idea that I think is worth thinking about.

I speak to so many grandparents who are ill, have considered ending their lives because they can't face life without their grandchildren, people who are desperately looking for something to hang on to. I always say that we have to self protect this is just another tool that might help someone.

As I say at the beginning of this post, we may be able to forgive, for us to move on, but we will not forget.
Ask any of the old soldiers who were recently involved in the D Day commemorations, they forgive but they never forget.

( Must just apologise, as it has been noted that I get my grammar, spelling, effects and affects muddled up, in the nicest possible way, but I write as thoughts come into my head!)

here is the link to Desmond Tutu book:  The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World


Friday, 13 June 2014

AGA's latest newsletter. Is Grandparent Alienation/ PAS Child Abuse?

Alienated Grandparents Anonymous Incorporated
International Headquarters    Naples, Florida  USA
AGA   June 2014   Newsletter
YOU Wanted to KnowIs Grandparent Alienation / PAS Child Abuse - Elder Abuse? 
Glenn Ross Caddy Ph.D., A.B.P.P., F.A.P.A.     AGA Consultant       drglenncaddy@mind-experts.com
There is no question but that unless there is legitimate reason to prevent the grandparents and children from enjoying a complete family life together [such justification may be the true psychological pathology or physical abuse of the children be the grandparent[s]], that the alienation of children from their loving parents by one or both parents is pathological and constitutes child abuse. This is simply because grandparents play an important role for the children in defining the depth and family and the support system of love inherent in the family just as uncles and aunts and cousins contribute to the breadth of the family surrounding the support, love, and well-being of the children. These people are far more than friends, they are blood and they are love. 
Tragically, it is common with alienation that when one set of grandparents or both sets are the victims of alienation the entire family on at least one side is estranged and splintered. The children who suffer this alienation have no context of cohesiveness or normalcy in of extended family life. They do not learn or know normalcy and they suffer profound emotional consequences therefrom. I have treated people in their 30's and 40's who came to realize in the context of the therapy that they were the victims of parental [and grandparent] alienation and their suffering has ranged between confusion and unimaginable psychic pain and psychopathology. 
Joshua Coleman, Ph.D.   AGA Consultant   www.drjoshuacoleman.com
Small children often form attachments to their grandparents that are as significant, if not more significant than those they form with their own parents. In many cases, grandparents—even those who were an intimate and involved part of their grandchildren’s lives—are suddenly denied contact because of a conflict between the parent and the adult child or the spouse of the adult child. 
Currently in the US there are few ways to successfully remediate this situation once it occurs. This is because parents in the US have complete authority over determining whether or not a grandchild can have contact with a grandparent. Children, from this perspective, are viewed as a kind of property over which the rights of the individual parent are ascendant over the rights of the grandparent. While most people would be sympathetic to a parent’s decision to restrict or deny contact with an abusive grandparent. My clinical experience shows that most grandparents are denied contact, not because of their abusive behavior, but because of a recent or longstanding conflict between the parent and adult child or the adult child’s spouse. However unfortunate and painful those conflicts, the decision to end an attachment to an otherwise loving and involved grandparent is something that should be considered in a far broader context than the rights of the parent. If parental neglect can and should be considered a form of child abuse, certainly a parent’s decision to end a loving and attached relationship between a grandchild and grandparent should also be considered a form of abuse.
Jerome Singer. M.D   Pediatrician      AGA Board Member
We all recognize child abuse?  Or, do we? 
A child came into the hospital with bruising on the head and torso.  Another child had x-rays that showed multiple old and new fractures.  And still another, an infant, had bleeding inside the skull from being shaken.  These are the kinds of histories that the hospital Child Abuse Committee I chaired reviewed.  It is easy to recognize this kind of abuse.
We know that children will all experience pain whether form an accidental fall, sports injury, auto accident, or the myriad of ways that kids get hurt.  But, when the pain is inflicted willfully we call this child abuse.  Society sometimes goes so far as to view corporal punishment or spanking as abuse. 
So, we can safely say that intentionally causing a child pain is abuse.
Not all abuse is so obvious.  Emotional abuse is not captured on a physical examination or x-ray.  When a close loving grandparent is removed from a child's world, the child feels emotional pain.  We all age, and we all die.  Grandparents die everyday.  If their grandchild was close, we see the emotional pain this causes.  We can try to explain death to a child.  We can tell them about the "cycle of life". 
When the loving close grandparent is still alive and purposely extracted from the child's world, and this separation is intentional, in inflicts pain.
Why isn't this a form of child abuse?  It intentionally inflicts pain on a child.
We must protect our children and respect parents' rights.  But, we must also recognize child abuse in all of its many forms.
John Killinger    AGA Consultant     drjohnkillinger@gmail.com
I agree that Grandparent Alienation is BOTH child abuse AND elder abuse.
The parents of this country would rise up en masse if they suddenly learned that the government had passed rules limiting the amount of vitamins and nutriments children can receive in their food or the number of books they can read in school.  Yet parents who keep their childrenaway from the grandparents are limiting by 50% the amount of grandparent love, knowledge, and interest those children are going to receive in the most formative years of their lives.
Citizens  would be angry with a neighbor they learned was keeping an elderly person locked up in a room in their home and limiting the food, water, and company that person received.  Yet parents who prevent grandparents from seeing their own grandchildren, their flesh and blood, are seriously delimiting the joy, happiness, and well-being of those grandparents.
Annie died on March 1, almost 3 months ago.  My life would be vastly different — I would be comforted — if I had regular access to my grandchildren and could SEE with my eyes the future of our progeny.  But alas. . .
J. Michael Bone, PhD  AGA  Consultant   www.jmichaelbone.com
If there is any tragedy that has befallen life in the modern world, it is the loss of the extended family.  In the mid 1940’s an excess of 85% of families were extended families, meaning that there were three generations of a family living under one roof or very nearby.  As we fast forward to as long ago as the mid 1970’s this number falls to only 11%, meaning that grandparents are only an every day part of children's’ lives in very small numbers.  While I do not know the exact statistic of the disappearance of the extended family in 2014, I would guess that it must be less than 3%.  What does this mean?  Unfortunately, this means a great loss of sharing of life experience   as well as a loss of wisdom that only this experience can yield.  When we add to this the fact that marriages are as likely to end in divorce as they are to survive into the senior years, one can easily see how the fragmentation of the family has led to an overall loss to our young people.  
It is well accepted and understood that grandparents provide a perspective and balance that only experience can yield.   While the world has changed and continues to change at unprecedented speed, it is the wisdom of experience that can best provide balance to this change.  Therefore, when parents divorce and children find themselves suddenly in two households, very often the resources that grandparents bring to grandchildren are diminished, or in the case of parental alienation,  destroyed altogether.   I am a strong supporter of Alienated Grandparents Anonymous (AGA) for this very reason.  AGA has committed itself to addressing this tragic loss directly.   I believe that the State of Florida can potentially lead the rest of the country in addressing this problem by seeking to restore the rightful and important role that grandparents can play in a child’s life.  I am proud to be associated with AGA.
Retired Psychotherapist  ACSW, DCSW    AGA Consultant-Grandparent
This is actually a deeper question than it initially appears on the surface. It entails the understanding on what is abuse and who is in question of being abused.  Abuse means that a person is treated regularly and repeatedly with cruelty and/or violence.  The effects of Grandparent Alienation/PAS is cruel to the actual child touched by alienation and also the 'child' that lives in every person within this sad and painful interaction.  The grandchild suffers the sadness of not knowing the gifts of the absent grandparent or at least having the opportunity to sort through and ultimately benefit from healthy resolution of the family emotional quagmire.  The inner child of the controlling or controlled adult child suffers from the loss, whether conscious or unconscious, of their biological parent, their accurate history and the ability to create internal peace and harmony through resolution. Step-grandparents suffer from their social/familial dismissal and the accompanying negative impact on their identity, loss of a dream and the budding awareness of their personal powerless position.  Lastly, the estranged grandparent's inner child suffers from the sense of rejection and abject sadness at losing their relationship with their biological child, as well as their grandchild, and the dream of a close parental/child connection with all.  Their history is in question and at risk for distortion and their inner child is in turmoil at the upheaval. Grief is everywhere! Therefore, the answer to your question is, "Yes", cruelty in so many forms and effecting child aspects of everyone involved.

Pascal J. LaRuffa, MD, FSAHM    (Fellow-Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine)  AGA Board Member                                            
Over many years as medical director of two boarding schools, an inpatient treatment center for addicted youth, two universities, and all the public schools in our suburban community, I was often faced with the responsibility of guiding many teenagers and young adults through their emotional pain.  Most of those frustrated and depressed students were faced with the monumental task of dealing with their education and the demands of everyday life.  It was upsetting to realize that the majority of their problems centered around the perceived lack of love and encouragement from home.  This fomented their feeling of helplessness to cope - without the armamentarium needed to survive in our complex world.  Many had turned to alcohol or drug abuse to ease the pain, or sexual promiscuity to feel wanted, physically and emotionally.  This behavior did not cure the problems, but intensified them.  Often, the situation would escalate to the point of self abuse.
I saw many cases where grandparents blamed the son-in-law (or daughter-in-law), and the other set of grandparents laid the blame in reverse.  Sometimes, it was the adult parent(s) who blamed one or more grandparents.  Try to imagine the feelings and confusion in the child (or children).  Now, they had to deal with arguments and attitudes from one set of parents - two sets if divorced - and four grandparents - maybe six.  How can the child be expected to deal with all this, and try to make the best of life on his own?  This is abuse of the worst kind: mental, emotional, and social.  That's where I would work with the children, as their coach and mentor.  The adults - I referred to family therapy.  It was crucial for the son or daughter to have someone on their side, who would be non-judgmental and keep everything strictly confidential.  
Vickijo Letchworth  AGA Board Member   Elder Abuse Response Advocate-Instructor    FL Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Grandparent Alienation is abuse.  No one, including Grandparents deserve the abuse caused by alienation.  The grandparent relationship is vital for a healthy childhood. 
AGA, Inc. President/Founder
International Headquarters  Naples, FL 

Grandparents must be the voice of our Grandchildren

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

To all Dads for Fathers Day.

Fathers Day.
It is just another Sunday, nothing special,
But it is special, a day to celebrate Dads,
A time for us to acknowledge our love for them,
Their day, a moment to say thanks and to hold them close.
Not all Dads will be sharing their special moment again this year,
How many more years will they have to endure this emptiness,
Children, who need both parents in their lives, to say “I love you.”
Hold on to your memories, close your eyes and remember,
Your children have not forgotten you, they never will.
They are holding you close, listening to your heartbeat,
They can see you, no-one can ever take that away.
You are their Dad, their special person, now and forever.


Rights reserved 2014.

Grandparents fight to stop SS having their grandchild adopted.



Friday, 6 June 2014

From Far and Wide.

We had a great meeting this afternoon and I would like to thank everyone for coming and doing what you all do so well, supporting each other.
It is always good to welcome new grandparents, although we are meeting because we are denied contact with our grandchildren we always manage to end meetings with smiles and laughter.
Today we welcomed grandparents from far and wide, thank you so much to the grandparent who drove all the way from Derby just to come, and to a grandparent who combined their holiday with a visit to Bristol!
It is a great leveller to listen to everyones stories and a great way to focus on why we do what we do.
Our new greetings cards with our own photos went down well and look as though they are going to be a fund raising success.
Once again, thank you all so much.


D Day.

Today I am thinking about the many thousands of young men and women who gave their lives for their country. We would not be living the lives we are if it was not for them.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Out of bad,there is good.

They say that out of bad there is good, and I think that is true.
7 years ago when I realised that contact had been stopped with my granddaughter, I didn't think I would ever get over it, but the decision to set up Bristol Grandparents Support Group was absolutely the right thing for me to do.
It seems to me that when these tragic things happen in your life you either sink or swim. If you sink it achieves nothing other than you becoming enveloped in your own grief, unable to function and enable to enjoy the positives in your life, to be so thankful for life itself.
When I took that deep breathe and began swimming it made me focus on other people, therefore not always thinking about me and my sadness.
I would of course give anything for our situation never to have occurred, but it has and over the last 7 years the most amazing people have come into my life. People whom I would never have met, people who are now friends and people of trust.
I am also very fortunate to have friends in my life that I have known for over 50 years, friends who know me better than myself, I am so blessed.
Others I have perhaps only known for a short time, but they make a huge impact in my life and the thoughts and prayers they share with me are immeasurable.
So I would just like to thank each and every one of you, it is you who make the difference, who give your time, thoughts and experiences to make the life we lead a better place.
It may well be pouring with rain outside as I write but it is helping the flowers grow. As I said at the beginning, out of the bad, there is good.


Monday, 2 June 2014

Another Birthday. June 8th

A Birthday Poem.

Happy 14th Birthday lovely girl,
Is it a party, a film or a trip somewhere,
With family and friends,
Lots of smiles and lots of laughter,
Maybe cake and candles and balloons,
Never too old for balloons!
I send you my love, on your special day,
Of course not just today but everyday,
Have fun my love, enjoy and dream.
Life is in front of you, doors will open,
Walk in through those doors,
Surprises might be waiting.
Who knows what the future will bring,
We pray it will be you making our doorbell ring.
Our door is forever open, our arms wide open to,
We are all here still waiting, just for you.

June 2014.

Proposed changes to court bundles.




Next meeting is on Friday at 2pm, look forward to seeing everyone.
Just a quick note to say for the foreseeable future I am not using my Face Book account and won't be linking my posts via FB, if you have sent me messages in the last 24 hours I will not have accessed them, if you need to contact me please can you do so in the usual way, jane@bristolgrandparentssupportgroup.co.uk
Many thanks everyone.