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, 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

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