The impact of divorce goes well beyond just a couple and their children. Extended family, particularly the parents of a divorcing couple, can encounter a great deal of turmoil and stress as they deal with their grandchildren during this difficult time. While there is no easy solution, there are steps grandparents can take to help their grandchild through a divorce:
- If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. It’s a basic proverb, but one that is extremely important in a divorce situation. Refrain from making negative comments about your ex-son or daughter-in-law in front of your grandchildren and don’t share information that they don’t need to know.
- Try to maintain the status-quo as much as possible. Children of divorce are looking for stability. Make sure their time with you is as similar to pre-divorce visits as possible. Schedule a Family Law Assessment with an Attorney Now to Ensure Children are Protected.
- Be ready to listen. It can be difficult for children of divorce to express their feelings to parents for fear of taking sides. The stability they feel with you may give them the confidence to open up about what they are going through. Don’t push them to talk about their feelings, but if they bring it up listen and respond positively. Don’t try to “fix” all their problems, but assure them that the divorce isn’t their fault.
- Share your own stories. Sometimes it helps if children hear how others have overcome challenges. Tell them about a time that you went through a difficult situation and were able to get past it.
- Abide by the arrangements set up by each parent. Don’t slack off on rule enforcement because of what they’re going through. Maintaining the consistency of rules can help your grandchildren feel more secure.
- Keep in communication with both parents. While this can be tough in certain divorce situations, maintaining contact with both parents will ultimately help you in your relationship with your grandchildren.
Grandparents are included in the fall-out from divorce. While it is a difficult time, it is important that you remain focused on the well-being of your grandchildren by taking steps to keep your relationship with them positive and healthy.