Jane Jackson runs a grandparents support group based in Bristol for those who have been denied contact with their grandchildren due to family breakdown.
Her son went through a separation and divorce and for a while everything was ok. He was able to see his daughter regularly when overnight, all contact was cut for him and then consequently for Jane and her husband.
At first, Jane believed that it was something they could put right, that it was a temporary thing. She had no idea that it would go on for several years.
When Jane realised that this was something that was going to continue and didn’t have any idea what to do about it, she also learned that there were over 1m children being denied contact with their grandparents within the UK.
So Jane thought that there must be some grandparents local to her, who were going through the same thing so the question was how to reach them and once she did found a way, Bristol Grandparents Support Group came to be.
It was hard and took about 18 months to get off the ground. Grandparents who have contacted Jane call it a living bereavement.
For Jane, it’s about the children as opposed to talking about grandparents rights. Children get caught up in family conflict which is absolutely nothing to do with them whatsoever and its totally out of their control.
Jane doesn’t believe that a grandparent should ever have rights above those of the parents. The parents come first and hopefully the rest will follow. The support group is very much child focused and it’s about being the voice of the children.
What Jane has come to see and learn from other grandparents is that when the children get to about the age of 14 and 15, they then start asking pertinent questions for themselves.
They are at that stage when things are changing for them and the world around them and it seems like that’s when the realisation sets in, that they do no longer see their grandparents, they soon begin to realise that the story that they may have been given by the resident parent does not ring true anymore.
And what may happen then is that they will turn against the resident parent. So there are really no winners in this situation. You have a child who feels that the adult in their lives have let them down and then you have an adult who for whatever reason has alienated, the other partner and everybody just falls apart.
So it is a no-win game – for more, much more, on grandparent alienation and grandparents rights UK listen to the interview.
If you would like to contact Jane Jackson, you could do so here – www.bristolgrandparentssupportgroup.co.uk