I will start this blog saying that remember that anything I write here are my own thoughts and beliefs, and that sometimes it won’t necessarily agree with your own views.
I know what I am about to write will be contentious to some.
I understand totally grandparents frustration that they want things to change, for there to be an answer in law for estrangement and alienation.
Those of you who know me personally will know already that I don’t believe the law can help.
There are calls for children to have the right to an ongoing relationship with grandparents if they wish after family breakdown, such as in countries like France.
I have no evidence of how it works.
What I do have evidence of is that at present and for many years parents have had Parental Responsibility which means that parents have a right to be involved in the lives of their children after a break up. For those parents who are denied contact know exactly what the law says and how ineffective it is.
We have hundreds of thousands of non resident parents estranged and alienated from their children, even though the law says it shouldn’t happen. Child Arrangement Orders in my view are not worth the paper they are written on. Orders are breached continually, and there is rarely a consequence on a resident parent.
And for me as always, this is all about the children, not adult rights.
Which takes me back to the call from grandparents to have rights.
Please tell me how on earth it would actually work? I have asked this question on our FB page and as yet haven’t had responses that would work.
For example: A grandchild who has been estranged from grandparents for 5-6 years, are they suddenly going to be told by the law that they have to have a relationship with gran and grandad? What effect would that have on the children?
That example may sound simplistic but it is the situation many of you are in.
So imagine a law being brought in today for a continuing relationship with grandchildren and grandparents, how would that impact on our grandchildren?
When this subject crops up on the media ect, the response always is, from the parents who are stopping contact, “Over my dead body.”
The other thought is, would this just be when a couple separate, because as we know many grandparents who are going through this is as a result of family fall out, drug/alcohol or domestic abuse within the home or bereavement.
For me we need a cultural change, to reinstate the importance of family and family values and, to educate children about the responsibility they have when they have children, to educate that the well-being of children is paramount within a family unit.
I have said many times before, denying contact should be as socially unacceptable as drink driving, and that didn’t happen over night.
We need to raise awareness whenever possible, to raise awareness of the damage that is being done to a whole generation of children.
The children have right to know their family history, to their identity and a right to loving and caring relationships of all family members.
I am reminded of these wise words:
– Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,so He loves also the bow that is stable
—Kahlil Gibran, “On Children” from The Prophet-