Are You Searching For Support?

AFGGC can help you with your grandparent-grandchild visitation issues

Dear Susan,

My friend Joy found your support group listing in the city news magazine The Newport Navigator, which is how I learned about your organization, Advocates for Grandparent-Grandchild Connection. All this time I thought that I was the only one going through this. I never realized that there were resources available and, within them, a possible solution.

Well, I have to tell you, after visiting your website and reading the educational information, I must admit that I’ve done all of the “Don’ts.” A few of my repeat offenses were giving advice, usurping parents’ rules and always asking why. [See the complete list of DO’s & DON’TS here.]

How could I have not realized that what I was doing was not only driving my son and his wife away but also cutting myself off from my grandkids?

I was at the point where I was open to anything, including taking responsibility for my actions by admitting my mistakes and realizing that I was the one who needed to change.

I purchased the organization’s self-help book and began attending the Corona del Mar support group meetings, and to say that this has changed my life is an understatement. All these resources gave me the confidence to better communicate with my son and daughter-in-law. I am pleased to say that I got to see my grandkids last weekend.

— New-Attitude Grandmother

Susan responds:

Support resources come in all shapes and sizes. With the grandparent alienation issue fast becoming a social problem affecting many families, our approach at AFGGC is threefold: We adopt a casual environment, offering support by reciprocal sharing and caring; we provide information through referrals; and we provide education by means of resolution.

I’m happy to report that “New-Attitude Grandmother” became proactive, investing in her own well-being by utilizing the resources that were available to her. She received telephone support, website, book and finally in-person support and education. She quickly learned a new way of communicating her thoughts.

Losing access to a grandchild can be devastating to a grandparent. Don’t feel that you have to suffer in silence or allow your ego to stand in the way of doing whatever it takes to see your grandchild.

The AFGGC organization is nationwide and only a phone call or email away. We also provide an online forum in real time via Facebook under the Susan Hoffman page.

We urge anyone interested in starting a group to consider joining our team and getting involved where you live. Connecting with others is essential.

Susan Hoffman is the author of A Precious Bond and director of Advocates for Grandparent Grandchild Connection.

GRAND extra!

Looking for support and understanding? If you’re a grandparent with grandchild visitation issues, click here for a list of resources, including locations of grandparent support groups and steps for forming a support group in your area.

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Grandparent Support Groups and Resources (PDF Version)

For grandparents who have lost access to a grandchild

Local Lost Access Support Groups

Newport Beach, CA

801 Narcissus Ave., Corona del Mar, CA 92625

Meets the second Wednesday of the month, 3-5 pm

Susan Hoffman

949-640-0399, afggc@grandwishes.org

Pleasant Hill, CA

City Hall

100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Meets the second Saturday of the month, 1-3 pm

Edward, Debbie Ramos

925-963-7695, phlostaccess@yahoo.com

Santa Clarita, CA

Email and phone support, in person by appointment.

Kathy Gorlick

661-714-2787, mduck03@sbcglobal.net

Connecticut

Phone/Email Only

Debbie Lamiotte

860-928-4967, blueeyedgoose_55@sbcglobal.net

Tampa Bay, FL

Gulfport Senior Center

5501 27th Ave. South, Gulfport, FL

Meets the fourth Tuesday of the month, 6:30 pm

Julia Penner-Zook

727-254-2024, lostaccesstampabay@gmail.com

Fleetwood, PA

Berks Encore

109 W. Vine St., Fleetwood, PA

Meets the first Monday of the month, 6:30-7:30 pm

610-698-7359, preciouschild6446@yahoo.com

Penn Hills, PA

William E. Anderson Penn Hills Library

1037 Stotler Rd., Penn Hills, PA

Meets the last Wednesday of the month, 7-8:30 pm

412-517-8257, palostaccess@yahoo.com

Support Groups Coming Soon:

Wilmington, DE; Brunswick, GA

Steps to Forming a “Lost Access” Support Group

  1. Before setting up a group, contact Susan Hoffman at AFGGC (afggc@grandwishes.org) for resources, mentoring and information about obtaining permission to use the AFGGC name and EIN
  2. Become educated about the issues in order to provide information
  3. Adopt a program philosophy in line with the organization’s mission statement
  4. Find a facility
  • Community center, senior center with parking and other resources and activities; in other words, a busy, thriving environment that draws people
  • Facility publishes a newsletter or class schedule that includes the support group.
  • No cost if part of a 501(c)(3)
  1. Put the word out
  • Announce in the event/calendar section of local community (physical) newspaper
  • Online newspaper and Patch.com event announcements
  • Flyers in appropriate public places; bulletin boards
  • Contact local paper requesting an article about the group
  • Contact any local media (radio, TV) and friendship-based clubs, chamber of commerce, business organizations, attorney offices, social services, departments on aging
  1. Create a warm, inviting space
  • Table and chair arrangement conducive to conversation, temperature, privacy
  • Provide water and snacks
  • Enforce general meeting etiquette

“The proliferation of support groups suggests to me that too many Americans are growing up in homes that do not contain a grandmother. A home without a grandmother is like an egg without salt.”

—Florence King

Support Resources from Advocates for Grandparent Grandchild Connection, AFGGC

  • Whatever the problem, no one is going to understand it better than another person with a similar circumstance.
  • There are support groups and meetings for just about everything, including alienated grandparents experiencing visitation issues and sometimes complete denial of grandchildren.
  • This is becoming a growing social problem affecting many families. The AFGGC wants to support grandparents who find themselves suffering in silence. To learn that you are not alone is the first remedy.
  • We provide website, email and telephone support resources and now have in-person support groups in California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Delaware; Georgia is coming soon.
  • We urge anyone interested in starting a group to consider joining our team and getting involved where you live.
  • Along with support are education and communication tools and coping strategies that actually work!
  • Losing access to a grandchild with whom an engendered bond has developed can be devastating to a grandparent. The impact upon their daily life can be debilitating and should be taken seriously. Eating, sleeping, mood disorders, anxiety and stress-related physical illness can all be affected.
  • Society places a stigma on family issues, treating them like family feuds that should be ignored; but it’s the stigma that grandparents place upon themselves, the feelings of humiliation and embarrassment, that prevent them from seeking help.
  • Connecting with others is essential.

—Susan Hoffman, director of Advocates for Grandparent Grandchild Connection. For more information contact her at 949-640-0399 or afggc@grandwishes.org

GRAND Magazine is honored to support the work of Advocates for Grandparent Grandchild Connection.

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