My ethos for BGSG has always been that it is not about grandparents rights but the rights of the grandchildren, a right to make a choice as to whether they continue to have a loving,caring relationship with their grandparents when family breakdown occurs.
I have written before about the different family breakdowns that we experience, but the affect on the children involved is the same.
Whatever form of estrangement they are having to deal with, it is unacceptable.
It is adults in their lives who are damaging them, not only now but for the future.
The children still love all the adults in their lives, and face turmoil every time they move form one to another,they are confused and sad that their stability is being rocked.They don’t understand and they shouldn’t be expected to.
They witness maybe mum or dad becoming upset and distressed but they don’t know how to make it better. Seeing a parent sad is horrible how ever old you are.
It may be possible that we assume children are getting anxious because relationships have broken down, which of course they do, but could it be that their anxiety stems from the stress and tension that always seems to happen when people they love meet, for children whose mum and dad have separated they have to deal with being with one parent for part of the week and the other parent the rest of the week, and visiting grandparents possibly in different places.
Children have two homes, they probably behave in a totally different way in these homes.
Some have to listen to one parent or grandparent saying nasty things about the other parent, the get questioned constantly about things that are nothing to do with them and all they want to do is to try and please everyone, of everyone to be friends.
Children who are in the middle of this, have not stopped loving anyone, they still love all adults in their lives.
As adults we make the decision to have children, presumably whilst in a loving relationship with someone, bringing children into this world is the most responsible thing we ever do, and yet we quickly forget our responsibilities when things become difficult and that instinct of protecting and nurturing goes out of the window, in favour of our own selfish, revengeful thoughts and deeds.
As parents your responsibility for your children is a life long responsibility, or should be.
Grandparents contact me regularly who are having some contact with their grandchildren, when parents have separated and are faced with grandchildren experiencing alienation from family members including themselves.
Grandchildren will talk to them about, the new partner in one of their parents lives, they will say that they have been told to call the new partner dad/mum, they don’t really want to, but they know it is what the parent they live with wants them to do. Grandchildren will also say that they have been told that they don’t have to do what gran or grandpa says when they are with them ect.
I would say, any contact you are still having with your grandchildren is precious. Make that time very special do lovely things together, have fun and give lots of reassurance. You will build up amazing memories for the children, they will always know who their real dad/mum is, that will never change.
Don’t fall into the trap of getting dragged into any form of conflict.
What is important is your relationship with the children, showing them how much you love them.
There are many children who are going through so much confusion and children making decisions already for their future, decisions that do not include those parents who have caused such heartbreak for them.
As I have said as a parent you have a responsibility to your children, for the rest of your lives.
Your children our grandchildren have rights.