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.

Thursday 30 May 2013

US Support for Grandparents

As you know we are contacted by grandparents all over the world, denied contact is a global issue, for anyone in the US here is a link to AGA a group that offers support in your neck of the woods.


Monday 27 May 2013

What can you expect from Bristol Grandparents Support Group?

In a previous blog I posed the question, 'Why join a support group?'
To follow on from that, you may be asking what qualifies us to run a support group.
The  answer is because we are going through it, we understand and know the hurt that is involved.
Although it was 2007 when  we had any contact with our granddaughter, it feels just like yesterday.
I remember so clearly my immediate reaction.
I thought this is ridiculous, this can't be happening, it will be OK.
As time went on, I realised that things were very far from OK, so what should I do about it?
As a grandparent you somehow feel, mistakenly, that you can sort it all out.
You soon find that you can't.
I know that I was astounded to find out that grandparents had no automatic legal right to see their grandchildren, talking to lawyers etc it became clear that it was a minefield, and did we really want to go down that path?
We made a decision not to take it to court, we all felt that our granddaughter had to live her life, in the way her resident parent wanted her to and that by us going to court etc it would make it increasingly difficult for her.
She had to be allowed to get on with her life.
Having made that very hard decision, I moved on to another stage, how to turn this awful situation into something more positive.
For me the answer was trying to link up with other grandparents in my area that were going through the same thing.
1,000 plus grandparents later from all over the UK and beyond, every single grandparent who has ever contacted me, is qualified to be part of the group, they have empathy, experience and great listening ears.
Its simple, they just know.
If you find yourself in this situation, don't think you are alone, you are not and we are here to help.

Should child know where Dad is?

I read today a post on a forum from a Mum who said that after many years she has now found the Dad of her child on FB, and she posed the question what should she do?
Is this a difficult decision?
There are several ways to look at it, from the adults perspective, a Mum who was left at 3 months pregnant to bring up her daughter, as far as I can tell Dad has not had any contact, the child is now 15 years of age. So probably you would think, 'well you had 15 years to get in touch,' he knew where they lived etc, 'so how would you react now?'
The other, and the most important one for me, is looking at it from the child's perspective. She knows about her Dad, and she is now 15, and needs to be given the information that his whereabouts is now known, and for her to be able to be given the choice of making an informed decision.
Not being given that choice is not an option, these things have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt you.
If the child at a later date finds out that Mum knew where he was, but didn't tell her, it could so easily rebound, creating yet more conflict.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

The voice of children.

Today I was talking to someone whose parents divorced when he was very young.
He spent his time going from one to another, and he told me it felt as though he was on a see-saw, and he had to learn to be two different people.
He would be child number one with one parent and child number two with the other.
Both parents had different values and he soon learnt that he had to take on those different values as well, to make sure that he didn't upset either parent.
Both parents would say horrible things about the other, and they tried to make him  take sides and to pick his 'favourite.'
He is now in his 30's and is trying to come to terms with Parental Alienation, in his case it was both parents and he has turned away from both of them.
The result is that two parents are now left without the love of their son and a son is without his parents, he has lost trust in all adult members of his family.
Three lives ruined just because adults were unable to put their child first.

Monday 13 May 2013

Highest levels from CAFCASS

What does this say about the breakdown in family life

Only £200, I don't think so.

I was dismayed this week to read an article on a well known  website, it was in reference to grandparents going to court for a contact order.
The article states that the cost of an application is £200, which is correct but when you read it, it sounds that there are no other costs, and that you can sometimes get that reimbursed if on a low income or benefits.
I must say I have never heard of grandparents getting their money back.
There is no mention of solicitors costs at all.
At the end of the article all becomes clear, it is written by a  firm of solicitors.
I just need to say, before someone brings it up again, it a choice whether to go down the legal route or not, just make sure you go to a family lawyer, ask for your free 20 mins consultation and have costs up front.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Where does it all go wrong?

As a parent I know that my children were born into a loving secure family, no-one knows what the future holds and I suspect that the majority of parents presume that their relationships will always be loving and secure.
For numerous reasons relationships break down, so how can two adults suddenly become so bitter that they feel it necessary to use their children as weapons, to use innocent children in their 'battle?'
Two people who were once in love with each other, looking to the future together building on their relationship, having a family are thrown into the turmoil of separation.
Adults have a responsibility to their children, not a right.
I do seem to keep on saying the same thing, but whenever I speak to another grandparent who is going through separation from their grandchildren and trying to support their son or daughter, it takes me right back, over and over again I hear the same horror stories, adults feeling desperate and confused as to why this is happening and children who just don't understand.
Children have two parents who they love and no parent should be saying dreadful things about the other parent, saying that Dad/Mum doesn't love them anymore and doesn't want to see them ever again.
Put yourself into the children's shoes, can you possibly imagine how they feel?
Children are not possessions they deserve respect from both parents, if a parent is involving children in adult conflict they are destroying their children, bit by bit. The acid drip feed of alienation is  corrosive.
It is the two parents who have the problem not the children, one thing I am sure of is that as the children get older they know that they have been lied to and turn against those who have led the deceit.
There are NO winners in this, there is No excuse for such behaviour.
Two people have children, children are people in their own right and are on loan to us.

Online Support For Grandparents.

I have made our Facebook page a closed group now, it enables members to be able to give each other online support.

Anyone can be recommended but will have to be approved by me.
Of course you can all still leave comments on this blog, but I understand one or two have had problems with that and of course it is a public blog.
It is important that this remains open to everyone so that grandparents can find us.

Monday 6 May 2013

A chance to sing?

As you know I sing in a community choir and always recommend it to everyone.
Singing is great therapy, this may be your opportunity to experience whilst raising money for a good cause as well, there are workshops culminating in The Big Sing in July, take a look at the website

Friday 3 May 2013

Grandparents contact orders, whose right?

Definition of rights:

"In an abstract sense, justice, ethical correctness, or harmony with the rules of law or the principles of morals. In a concrete legal sense, a power, privilege, demand, or claim possessed by a particular person by virtue of law. "

Why do we insist in talking about rights, in the above definition several words show how negative a word it is ; power, demand, as soon as you say those words it becomes aggressive.
Children who find themselves in this constant world of conflict have to find their own ways of dealing with the emotional turmoil in their lives.
They are trying to lead their own lives, to have fun, to be with friends and just to embrace every opportunity. If children are caught up in the poison of alienation they are unable to spread their wings and fly.
All their energy is used on trying to make things better for the adults in their lives, see-sawing from one to another. Thinking that somehow it is their responsibility to make it OK, spending so much time walking the tightrope of separation their young lives are passing them by.
Surely, the responsibility is ours, the adults, not the children.