It has been a very busy week!
On Wednesday I was invited to be on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 and on Thursday I was on BBC Radio WM (West Midlands) it is always difficult to get across all the things you want to cover, as you are expected to answer the questions that they ask you. It is often all too short.
I know that some grandparents get disappointed that the focus seems to be about estrangement after separation and divorce. Whenever possible I do explain that Family Breakdown happens for all sorts of reasons, and when writing I always reinforce those reasons.
Family Breakdown can be as a result of separation/divorce, alcohol/drug dependancy within the home, domestic abuse, bereavement or family fall out, and increasingly issues when grandchildren who are in long term foster care or are adopted.
I am fully aware that people don’t like the terminology used, some will say that there hasn’t been a family breakdown or that they haven’t fallen out with a family member.
In all honesty for BGSG Family Breakdown covers every reason.
If you are estranged/alienated you have to assume that there is a family breakdown?
What we need to understand is that as we are trying to get a small change in the law, it is bound to be within Family Law and those laws associated with divorce.
As I have always said it’s a starting point to cultural change.
There are no laws that deal with ‘family fall outs’, as far as I am aware.
Put simply, if we fall out with one of our adult children, how can the law deal with that?
The law is and has to be black and white, but family breakdown is a grey area, the law is logical and yet family breakdown is illogical and so it is almost impossible for the two to meet.
Mediation, as we all know has been tried and tested and in my view failed.
If we could mediate or communicate properly we would not be in the position we find ourselves in.
The change in the law is just one stepping stone.
Remember who this is all about.
It is the grandchildren we focus on, that has to be the one and only focus.
Disputes, arguments, disagreements, differences, misunderstandings call them what you will, are all about adult behaviour.
Any child caught up in the middle of this emotional abuse can do nothing about it. They have their own lives to live and have to try and continue to grow as children should.
Again, a small change in the law is just one move.
We have to work towards a cultural change as well ,very young children must be educated in the importance of family. Family values need to be reinforced, children need to understand the responsibility they will have when they are older. When they are in an adult relationship and go on to have children, that those children have a right to have contact with both parents and grandparents/extended family.
So to deny contact is as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
Thank you to all the estranged/alienated parents and grandparents who have been in touch this week and to the hundreds who have visited BGSG’s website after those interviews.
It has been overwhelming.