This week, Jacksons invited student Jenny Anderson from St Thomas More RC Academy in Whitley Bay, to the office to gain some work experience. She has been out and about all week with head of family, Louisa Bestford attending various networking events and meetings. One of those meetings was with Grandparents Plus, a national charity supporting grandparents in playing a significant part in their grandchildren’s lives. Here is her view on Grandparents.
Personally, I feel that our society undermines the significance and importance of Grandparents. I believe that Grandparents are an extremely important within our society, and that their knowledge, wisdom and love should be recognised.
One reason I believe Grandparents to be of particular significance is because of the enormous variety of experiences they have. As being in the final stage of their lives, they have made their own mistakes and been able to learn from them; this means that hold a great deal of knowledge and are exceptionally wise. Continually, this means they offer good advice on what may seem complex, but to a Grandparent would be a memory. Also, their range of experiences often leads them to have more rounded opinions and to be less judgmental. I think the fear of judgment is a key barrier when asking advice, incase you made a decision you know was wrong or perhaps you are embarrassed on not knowing how to act. Therefore, a Grandparent’s ability to be non-judgmental is a very valuable quality.
Secondly, I think Grandparents are of importance because they always hold the best interests of their family members at heart: this makes them reliable family members. In fact, there are 200,000 kinship carers in the UK; majority of which are Grandparents. This is just one example of how they care for other family members, as well as how they are heavily relied upon. In my opinion, Grandparents are in fact the backbone of society because they are heavily relied upon in numerous ways. Another example of how Grandparents are relied upon, in particular by teenagers is that 18% of 11-16 year old are cared for by their Grandparents. Moreover, inter generational relationships have been researched by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the research portrays how these relationships are beneficial to both parties and how they improve health outcomes. So, not only do Grandparents offer excellent advice and are reliable; they improve the wellbeing and health of teenagers.
Having previously spoken to my peers on this topic, I discovered how they consider their Grandparents to be imperative people within their lives. For example, they visit their Grandparents on a regular basis because they enjoy their company. Furthermore, they expressed how they often go to their Grandparents for advice or with concerns because they are aware of the knowledge and wisdom their Grandparents have obtained through years of experiences and mistakes. Also, that they offer valuable advice- without passing judgment. This reinforces my initial point of why Grandparents are of particular significance.
On Tuesday 4th July Louisa and Emma from the Jacksons matrimonial team and I met with Joyti Schahhou: a representative of Grandparents Plus. This enabled me to have the opportunity to ask her opinion on the value of Grandparents and how they are treated. Joyti expressed how she felt sad due to the treatment of Grandparents; in particular how she considers local authorities and social services to be failing both the children and the grandparents. This is another example of how the value of Grandparents has been failed to be recognized on more than one occasion. On the other hand, she explained how fulfilling and happy it was to see the love and stability that grandparents provide: once again reflecting the golden hearts of Grandparents.
To find out further information on the work of Grandparents Plus visit www.grandparentsplus.org.uk