Divorce is a tough process for everyone in the family, though grandparents are often overlooked during the process. A divorce can negatively affect their lives as well, especially if the divorce restricts access to your son or daughter’s children. Grandparents are generally seen as a source of comfort, fun, and plenty of love for many kids and the stress of a divorce in the family can leave grandparents feeling confused about what their role and relationship in the family is now that things are different. A grandparent will of course want to support their adult child, while also offering support to the grandkids. It is important, though, that caring and supportive role be navigated with care during this difficult time.
Here are a few tips for grandparents on how they can handle their children getting a divorce:
- Maintain Relationships: When around your grandkids, it’s important that you keep things normal. If you regularly visit them, stick to this schedule as best as you can. This is especially important for those who have a close relationship with their grandparents. They will appreciate you and the support you’re giving them. It’s important to remember that if you didn’t have a very close relationship with them before the divorce, it may be because it’s hard to make that connection at this moment. Still be there for them, but don’t try to pressure them into doing something they’re not comfortable with doing right now.
- Try not to choose sides: As a parent, you’re probably feeling a sense of strong alliance to your adult. Even if you don’t particularly like their ex-spouse, it is not an excuse to say mean things about this person – especially in front of your grandkids. It’s best to not interfere with the way your grandkids’ feel about their parents. Keep talk surrounding their parents positive, at the very least, neutral. Instead of trying to pry information out of them about the divorce, keep an eye on them to make sure that they are doing well, both emotionally and physically.
- Communicate with your ex Son/Daughter-In-Law: Unfortunately, even after a divorce, your ex-son or daughter-in-law will be a part of your life on some level, especially because they will either be sharing custody or be the sole caretakers of your grandchildren. So, it is better to find a way to continue a relationship with them sooner than later. When you maintain this relationship, it will make it easier to be around the other parent for moments like school graduations or your grandchild’s future wedding. Of course, if you are close to the other parent, you should take a few steps back for the sake of your adult child and their feelings. Tread lightly, with caution, and with respect.
- Make Holidays Stress-free: After divorce, you’ll realize that traditions with your grandkids, like birthdays and holidays, won’t be the same. The most important thing you can do is give your grandkids the best birthday or holiday you can give them. Accept the fact that they’ll likely spend time with their other family for certain events, maybe more often than with you, but your time with them will come. Try to focus on building new traditions with them, some that you can carry on as you all move forward.
- Keep calm, carry on: Remember, the important thing to do is to keep the time you spend with your grandchildren fun and positive. Positive attitudes keep things positive for them, especially since they are probably being impacted the most by the divorce. Plan fun activities that you know they will enjoy, which will not only make their time with you enjoyable but will take their mind off any stress they might be going through. Demonstrating how to stay peaceful and calm, even in the face of challenges, will give your grandkids a positive example on how to handle the stresses life will throw at them.