I had the opportunity to interview Amanda, founder of Alienated Grandparents Anonymous (AGA-fl.org) just before she approved the final galleys of her forthcoming book: I Thought I Was the Only One: Grandparent Alienation … A Global Epidemic. Since its inception eight years ago AGA, has registered 141 support groups in 50 states and 23 countries. To date, AGA has documented over 200 success stories (from people who had the wherewithal to report) where some level of family reconciliation took place.
The book provides information gathered from communicating with thousands of grandparents and great-grandparents who have been cut off or severely limited to access with their grandkids. It provides personally expressed feelings of grandparents in their own words, explanations, and insights about over 30 complex dynamics of Grandparent Alienation, including reasons why this occurs, and suggestions for a hopeful reunification.
Examples of the dynamics of grandparent alienation
How money and wealth may play a part in alienation is one. It begins with an explanation of why it could be a factor, what might be done about it, and suggests strategies that might alleviate the situation. Among the 30 topics are feelings of the grandchildren, enablers, raging, siblings, weddings and births, holidays, legal issues, grandparents’ rights, and factors concerning the use and misuse of social media.
Who should read this book?
Doctors, mental health providers, clergy, university professors, judges, policymakers, and those who can make decisions that affect family custody and grandparent visitation rights need this information. Therapists and attorneys without training can make things worse. AGA Headquarters has provided professional continuing education training sessions for attorneys and mental health providers. Many therapists who are called to testify do not believe Parental Alienation Syndrome exists, much less know how to handle it.
Dynamics of alienation and family separation in other countries and cultures
In our work on Grandparent cutoff and Grandparent Visitation Rights nationally and globally, we have found no socio-economic, religious, or cultural boundaries. This phenomenon is endemic in society globally.
Reasons an adult child might keep grandchildren from interacting with their grandparents
Of course; there are people with addictions and certifiable mental illnesses that should not be given access to children. AGA deals mainly with loving caring parents and grandparents who need to know there are others like them and who need the tenacity to hold onto the hope of reconciliation and work for change.
Recommendations for estranged grandparents during the holidays
Hits on our website double during the December holiday season. I suggest my support group attendees to “take Christmas” any day they can get it … to appreciate those who do love and care about them. I have devoted a full chapter regarding holiday issues.