The value of grandparents

Too many children are living in danger homes and are suffering neglect, physical or sexual abuse with no one to protect them until it’s too late.

The non resident parent, the grandparents and the extended family are banned by the law with very easily obtained court orders and children’s agencies cannot know of the abuse until it has happened. The children are in effect at the mercy of anyone in the home, even temporarily, that would and do abuse them and the law, is condoning it. The present unjust family laws provide a legal fortress for abusers to hide behind.

The governments of the past have not taken this gap in the protection of children seriously and have failed the thousands of children who suffer because of it.

Grandparents can have insight into their own family’s characters because of the unique relationship and can sense when something is wrong. This intuitive insight should not be ignored by governments or authorities. Grandparents are the biggest carers of children saving the public purse a fortune.

Money is rarely the reason they take on these responsibilities but an awful lot are living in poverty to do so. They are being taken for granted. Some are afraid to ask for financial help in case they lose the children to ‘the system’ that is supposed to help them.

All the UK governments say that grandparents play an important role in the life of their grandchildren, but ignore the benefit that role can really be to the children.

It is time to respect grandparents and allow them to protect the grandchildren that are caught up in drug and alcohol problem homes. We have been told by a drug addict that they regularly give their children drugs to make them sleep when they themselves intend to get high.

These are dangerous times for children when a resident parent can be high on drugs or drunk and no-one is allowed access to ensure the children are OK.

There was someone in the past that did actually check up on children and their homes. They were called The Green Lady and were very effective in spotting potentially abused children. The problem was they cost the government a fortune and were cut back like everything else, but the way the child abuse rate is rising there is a need for such a service now.

Will the government be able to afford it? Will the government be able to cope with the constant rise in child abuse without grandparents help? Prevention has to be better than cure.
The majority of grandparents would be delighted to have the right to look out for their grandchildren without fear of excommunication.

Grandparents do save children from abuse because it is inherent in them and could save the public purse further on child care and abuse. They are an army of helpers that should be utilised to the full.

We are asking the new Scottish Government to right these wrongs and look to grandparents in helping with the welfare and protection of their grandchildren. Menzies Campbell said recently words to the effect, ‘we are not past it, we may be older but we are wiser with life’s experiences.

Jimmy Deuchars
Grandparents Apart UK
22 Alness Crescent
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658

Brave granny 72 travels over 1000 miles to see her granddaughter.

I saw Jimmy and Margaret Deuchars of Grandparents Apart UK talking on GMT TV about grandparents losing contact with their grandchildren and immediately felt a warmness from them and after a while I felt a compulsion to contact them.

I Explained to them that I lost my daughter to a brain illness and because of the devastation and mixed emotions I lost contact with my granddaughter and her paternal family. I felt It was the end of my world and being on my own I was so confused and in so much pain I didn’t know where to turn.

Jimmy and Margaret were very reassuring and understanding and after a time invited me to come up to Scotland to try and reconcile with my granddaughters family who had moved from England to Scotland.

Jimmy said, “she is a very brave lady to put her trust in strangers and travel all this way on her own not really knowing what was ahead of her but her determination to see her daughter’s child is very strong”.

The Gran said “Over two days we visited the paternal grandparents and with Margaret at my side to mediate it gave me the courage to go through with it”.

I was terrified as we approached the door, what if they reject me I thought. We were very courteously invited in by the granddad and with Margaret’s help explained why I was there and was listened to with interest and courtesy but after a while we left.

On our way back to Glasgow the phone went and it was my son to tell me the dad had come in from work and could I call back as he was very anxious to see me after what the granddad told him.

We put everything else on hold and about turned and headed straight back . My granddaughter whom I had only seen as a baby was waiting at the door and was overjoyed with excitement and said she will tell her whole class about her grandma from England visiting her.

My son-in-law gave me a cuddle and we talked for a long time” and parted with cuddles and phone numbers and promises to keep in touch. I was over the moon. Jimmy and Margaret took me to see my daughters grave and now I will die a happy lady knowing that my daughter in heaven will be overjoyed at our reconciliation.

Margaret said “when people really put their heart into it and putting the welfare of child first it is amazing what can be achieved. Mediation certainly worked for this family and could work in 75% of problems in families if it is widely enough promoted.

Grandparents are at the heart of children’s lives

In My View -Sunday Post
By Jimmy Deuchars
Head of Grandparents Apart UK

DEPUTY PRIME Minister Nick Clegg revealed plans last week for grandparents to get stronger rights to step in and help children when parents break-up.

He said it was “crazy” that the wider family did not feel they could intervene in such situations, and the UK Government is setting up a Childhood and Families Ministerial Task Force.

It’s difficult to express the importance of grandparents to a child’s life. They are the biggest carers of children in this country — but for too long, they haven’t had a role to play as far as the law is concerned. When social services turn at their doorstep at 2 am, asking if they can take in their grandkids due to some problem or other, very few will refuse. When there are troubles in a household, for example a parent is unable to look after their kids due to a drug problem, grandparents are often first in line to step in and help out.

We can prevent children from going into care, and provide a warm home and stable environment. Children can either grow up to be thugs or good citizens and much of that comes down to what happens to them in childhood.

When parents spilt up, and children are involved, it’s not the role of grandparents to take sides. The role is to mediate and act in the best interests of the children.

Today’s grandparents tend to be younger and fitter than in previous generations. Of course, people are living longer so there are more years to spend with one another. I only knew one of my grandparents, and even then it was only for a short period. I feel like I missed out.

It may surprise some people to learn that I don’t believe in automatic legal rights for grandparents. However, courts and social services do need to give grandparents more consideration than at present when making assessments about children’s lives. They cannot underestimate the loving and supporting role grandparents can play.
I’ve seen some ridiculous situations, like one judge preventing someone who he admitted was a “loving, caring grandmother” from seeing her grandchildren because of animosity between her and her daughter.

I have six grandchildren myself, ranging in age from 18 to three. They are my treat and my wife Margaret and I see them as often as we can. Having grandchildren is pure love, pure innocence. It gives us a second trip around. We get all the enjoyment of children, but without so much responsibility!

When a grandparent loses touch with their grandchildren, it is absolutely heartbreaking. They are left feeling confused and vulnerable. It’s like a bereavement, but without any closure. I know myself how easy it can happen. My daughter died of breast cancer, leaving two young children behind.

After a few years, their dad met a new woman and moved down south with the kids. His new partner didn’t want anything to do with us and we were gradually cut out of our grandkids’ lives to the point where we had to hire a lawyer. Thankfully, everything was sorted in the end but we’ll never forget the pain and hurt.

I know of so many similar devastating tales. There was one woman who lost her daughter to a brain tumour. In the aftermath of her death, emotions were running high and she fell out with the paternal family, resulting in her losing contact with her grandkids. She contacted our charity and we helped arrange a mediation session, which resulted in a terrific reconciliation.

But not everyone gets such a happy ending. I know of one woman who fell out with her daughter, was banned from seeing her five grandchildren, and later found out they were being ill-treated in a dreadful abuse case.

Many others spend the final years of their lives heartbroken at being unable to see their flesh and blood grow up, and share in their experiences.

But I don’t believe courts are the best place to resolve family problems. Mediation is more preferable. And while I will always champion the cause of grandparents, it’s important they accept that children belong to parents.

Many conflicts arise because grandparents don’t know when to back away. They may think they know better due to their experience, but things change. Modern parents are more educated and pick up things from antenatal classes. Modern methods of bringing up children may clash with those of previous generations. But parents must be able to raise their own children, without interference.