Last night I was invited to give a talk at Bristol Contact Centres’ AGM.
I started by saying,
Being a grandparent is an absolute privilege, it is not a right.
I asked them to just think about what I had said and that I would come back to it later, which I did. It was interesting seeing the different reactions on different faces, and one person who said,
I told them about BGSG and how I founded the charity 12 years ago ect, I explained what we did and where we are now.
I then returned to my opening statement.
I explained that BGSG is not a grandparents rights charity, and that we don’t campaign for grandparents rights, what we do do is to put the grandchildren first in everything we do, and that it is Grandchildren’s Rights that must be campaigned for.
As I have blogged so many times before, you can not have the rights of grandparents over and above the rights of parents.
I have heard all sorts of horror stories about contact centres and I understand how horrible it is to have to see children and grandchildren in them, so I did wonder what I might walk into.
As far as Bristol Contact Centre is concerned, I can’t talk about the others obviously, everyone I spoke to last night were caring and empathetic towards the whole situation. It mustn’t be forgotten as well that they are run by volunteers, they don’t have to do it, but they want to.
The waiting list is huge and more and more court orders are being issued, they don’t have the capacity or resources to deal with every case.
People have told me of enormous amounts of money they have to pay to be able to even access a contact centre but in Bristol apart from the initial fee for referral of £20 there is no further cost, they are a non profit organisation, so they have to raise funds for themselves.
No parent or grandparent wants to have to see their child or grandchild under these circumstances of course, but from what I could see certainly at this particular centre they are doing a great job with care and understanding.
As a result of last night and the discussions that followed and two phone calls I had yesterday, contact had been stopped because a grandparent had criticised a parent on their parenting skills.
I passed on my mantra.
Think your own thoughts never speak them
What might feel to us as a bit of friendly advice can so easily be taken the wrong way.
As parents we learn on the job, we ALL make mistakes but as long as we learn from those mistakes then that is ok. Did we get everything right?
I know I didn’t.
It is a totally different thing if you are asked for your opinion or advice, but never wade in with the
In our day or don’t you think you should be doing it this way?
Let parents be the best parents they can be, we have done the parenting bit, we now have a different role, one of support when it is asked for.
As I said at the beginning of this blog,
Being a grandparent is a privilege NOT a right.