Putting the child first

As always it is always good to share real life stories with you, particularly if it has a positive end.

This grandparent has given their permission to let me share this with you.

“I first came across the Bristol Grandparents’ Support Group at a Celebrating Age event in Spring  of 2017, AND KNEW THEY were people in the same situation as me.

Following my daughter’s dreadful death from Cancer in autumn 2016 I was beset with worry about her son.

His father had no regard for the importance of stability and consistency in a bereaved child’s life. In the end he was at 12 schools in three countries – speaking three languages, constantly uprooted from friends of his own age.

His father was very erratic about letting me see him and would not give me notice of when it might be.

Often it was when it suited him, because he had to go away to work.

Sometimes I would drive the 45 minutes to find they had gone away without telling me. He was also deeply inconsistent and oblivious to the needs for educational continuity.

Last autumn he changed his mind five times about where they should live, – in which country so GS couldn’t be enrolled in college.

Even though he is 16, that mattered to him.

He was cut off from people his own age.

My main anguish was knowing that he was NOT OK , that there was verbal and sometimes physical violence and rages.

We took legal advice and were told that although we had a strong case and indeed might be successful in gaining guardianship that (given the age he was) it might be better to hang in there until he was old enough to make his own decision.

This too really was the advice from members of the  grandparents’ group – to focus on the positive, to find baby steps that could make things better, to try to not rub his father up the wrong way.

I continued to be warm and affectionate to him, despite how he treated me and his son. I would say how hard it must be for him as a single parent

In the end it worked and 6 weeks ago, having had a number of knock backs, with his new partner and with work, our GS father was obviously not coping.

So he asked us if GS could come to live with us!

I suppressed the urge to scream HURRAH and said yes maybe it would be a good thing.!!

So he is here with us, and with his father at weekends, we are trying to get him into music college .

I have been lucky having the support of the group to enable me to talk through the issues- the highs and lows.

Also I have had real life friends of my deceased daughter who, expressing their love for her, have helped GS – come and stay when he visits the area give advice and so on.

This is a happy story, although it has been a hard graft. Becoming a “parent” at nearly 72 isn’t a piece of cake; but immediately the decision was made, my mood lightened.

I have also been able to keep reaching out to my other DIL who had also cut me off and thus scarcely see grand daughters.

But I know they are ok, so it hurts less.

My lesson is – persevere, keep biting your lip, keep trying to work with the alienator if you can.

Model what appropriate families do.

My GS said, “Dad is like an animal which doesn’t like being stroked the wrong way, if you try to stroke him, if you leave him alone until he has had his coffee, he is better.”

Thank you to the grandparent who has allowed me to post this.


About Jane

Jane setup Bristol Grandparent Support Group in 2007 after a string of incidents led to the loss of contact with her Grand Daughter.

View all Jane Posts


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