When a couple divorces, their extended family is also greatly impacted. This is especially true when there are children involved and many grandparents struggle with how to best support their grandchildren during a divorce. The following are important ways grandparents’ rights can be preserved.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the divorce of a son or daughter, it’s wise for grandparents to remain as neutral as possible. During a time of such upheaval, children of divorcing parents need a safe haven. By staying neutral and remaining positive, grandparents can help provide a much-needed safe and comforting environment for their grandchildren.
Likewise, when children do ask questions it’s important for grandparents to take the child’s age into consideration and only share age-appropriate information. This is especially important when a divorce was preceded by issues like infidelity or domestic abuse. While a grandparent shouldn’t make excuses or allowances for these types of behavior, it’s wise to remain as neutral as possible and turn the focus towards the children rather than a parent’s shortcomings.
In the midst of a divorce, grandparents should also make an extra effort to connect with their grandchildren. Attending a child’s sporting event, going to a movie or just spending time talking are all important ways to foster a close relationship. It’s also important for grandparents do keep in touch with both parents, particularly if their son or daughter does not have primary custody. Working to keep lines of communication as open as possible can help ensure the relationship with a grandchild is maintained.
Lastly, regardless of how difficult and messy the divorce, do not fall into the trap of overcompensating with expensive gifts. During a divorce, what children need more than anything is stability and love. Grandparents who are able to provide this type of environment, afford their grandchildren the best opportunity to grow into happy and well-adjusted adults.
Source: Sleek Gossip, “Grandparents and divorce: Tips for helping your grandchild,” July 30, 2012