For many older people, there is perhaps nothing more exciting and more fulfilling than spending time with their grandchildren. However, things can go very quickly from incredibly rewarding to incredibly perplexing in the event grandparents learn that their adult child is getting a divorce.
Suddenly, they are confronted not only with the prospect of providing support to their own child through the divorce and all of its related issues (child custody, child support, property division, etc.), but with the prospect of managing their own relationships with their adult child’s soon-to-be ex and, most importantly, their own grandchildren.
Experts indicate that during these difficult times, grandparents can actually serve a vital role for their grandchildren, providing them with much-needed support and a proverbial oasis from divorce-related anxiety. However, experts warn that grandparents always need to be mindful of a few basic points.
Family experts advise that as soon as the divorce is known to all interested parties — including the kids — that grandparents go out of their way to make the time they spend with their grandchildren as similar as possible to pre-divorce visits. This is because it can provide them with a safe haven and a sense of stability in otherwise turbulent circumstances.
However, they also indicate that grandparents should make a conscious effort to keep their home and their activities with their grandchildren strictly neutral, avoiding focus on the impending divorce.
Be an active listener
Family experts also indicate that grandparents should only address the divorce if it is brought up directly by their grandchildren, which is highly possible given that they may feel safe to talk in a neutral environment.
In the event that they do bring the topic up, family experts advise grandparents to listen, offer them love and support, and reassure them in a positive manner that the impending divorce is in no way their fault.
Be aware of what you say
Finally, experts indicate that even though grandparents may feel very strongly about the impending divorce that they resist the urge to say anything negative and, if possible, to make it a point to say nice things about both parents. Furthermore, they caution against relaying any information that grandchildren have shared in confidence, if possible, as the child may feel that their trust was betrayed.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about child custody, visitation or grandparents’ rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The Huffington Post, “Helping grandkids survive divorce,” March 29, 2013