The problems some grandparents face following the breakdown of their children’s relationships.
Here at WYFMS, we have long recognised the difficulties some grandparents face when it comes to maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren following the divorce or separation of the children’s parents. If you are finding it difficult to have regular, meaningful contact with your grandchildren in such a situation, you are not alone.
A recent survey has found that more and more grandparents are being forced to take legal action through the courts in order to see the children. Leading family lawyer Vicky Preece believes that this highlights how family relations have broken down across the country and explained that a contested private court case for grandparents to seek access to their grandchildren costs tens of thousands of pounds.
The survey showed that a quarter of all grandparents were excluded from their grandchildren’s lives after separation with 7% being frozen out even when their child’s relationship was still working. Those in the North East had been worst hit by the trend, with one in three reporting access to their grandchildren had been restricted.
Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen has explained, ‘The experience of many of the children who ring Childline is that grandparents are a place of safety and security if things are going badly wrong in the parental life,’ and she is calling for the right of grandchildren to see their grandparents to be enshrined in law.
She further explained that: ‘Estrangement from their grandchildren has been described to me by grandparents as a living bereavement and by grandchildren as a real loss. I’ve heard, for example, of a grandson who was even prevented from saying goodbye to his grandmother when she was dying.’
So the question remains, how can such estrangement be avoided? We at WYFMS are completely child focused. We have long recognised the damage that can be caused to children following their parents separation if that separation is not handled correctly and the children’s wishes and needs disregarded.
We offer services for grandparents to enter the mediation process purely to resolve their access issues and will, if appropriate also include the children in the mediation process.
Further to this, we also offer a ‘listening ear’ service which is exclusively for children that are finding the whole process of their parents separation difficult and who would benefit from speaking to a completely unbiased person who will listen to them and, if the child wants, to explain to the parents how the child is feeling.
If you would like to learn more details about this then please have a good read through this website where we have a wealth of information about the mediation process and a specific area (here) with information for grandparents who want to try and re-establish contact with their grandchildren.
If you would like to read further, the newspaper article may be accessed here.