To be a member of Bristol Grandparents Support Group is all about giving other people, who are or have experienced estrangement or alienation, support.
We don’t intervene with individuals, it is not our role, we also don’t have a magic wand that we can wave and make everything better.
We also don’t give legal advice, we are not legal experts.
The clue is in the name of our small charity, support.
Everyone facing this ‘living bereavement’ are very vulnerable and fragile.
When taking part in conversations be that 1:1 or on any internet platforms, we all have to be mindful of how our words can be misconstrued. It is all too easy to say something to a vulnerable person that hurts them deeply, once those words have been said they can’t be unsaid.
We tend to always focus on the negative things people say, it may be one negative point and twenty positive comments, but it is the negative point that we can’t get out of our heads. It is that thought that you lie awake at night thinking about.
Without exception estranged/alienated parents and grandparents are in this situation due to someone else’s bad communication, bad behaviour and cruelty.
A support group must be at all times, non-judgemental, empathetic and above all else kind.
Emotions are naturally running high, it is up to each and every one of us to calm that troubled water and to try to hold back the tide of despair.
Of course when someone asks for advice, it maybe that the advice offered is not quite what we want to hear, and it is how we respond to that, that can make all the difference.
An example could be when a distraught grandparent contacts us and asks our views on going to court to apply for a Child Arrangement Order that when we explain gently the pitfalls, they assume we are trying to persuade them not to go down that route. They might take exception to our response, but what we would be doing would be to just make them aware of all scenarios, so that they can then make an informed decision.
I have read some quite horrible comments online when people ask for advice, which results in causing even more hurt. You would think that those who have been through difficult times would not be so hurtful, but sadly it is the nature of social media. There will always be those anonymous people just waiting to have a go at vulnerable people.
We know that we should speak to people in a way that we would like to be spoken to, it is not difficult to use kindness.
To be kind to everyone is something we all learned when we were very young, but along the way some have lost that capability.
We may not agree with others but we still must be kind and compassionate.
When we are kind to someone we also feel good it is a two way act, be gentle with others, they may forget what you said or what you did but they will never forget your kindness.
Kindness means building bridges not walls. RAKtivist.
When people reach out to Bristol Grandparents Support Group they feel abandoned and alone, just being kind makes them see they are not alone, we are all this together.