Before the announcement of divorce, grandparents are often considered “GRAND” in every sense of the word, not only from their grandchildren but also from their adult child and in-law. “Grand” because all of the grand things that they do for their grandchildren and also for the family as a whole. Wonderful memories with grandparents are usually made at every visit whether it is always having time to play hide and seek with younger grandchildren or attempting to learn the modern technology with the older grandchildren at the local ice cream shop. When divorce is announced and emotions between their adult child and their in-law become an issue, grandparents often become concerned about their future relationship with their grandchildren.
When divorce occurs grandparents can offer many helpful opportunities to aid their grandchildren such as:
Grandparents can provide stability:
Before the divorce and even after, grandparent’s home offers a safe environment free of conflict, acceptance and comfort from the discord that may be attached with divorce in the marital home. Children of divorcing parents may find that grandparent’s home provides stability as it is free of change and offers peace from confusion. In order for stability to remain at the grandparent’s home is the realization that the children should not feel as though they should be a spy and need to inform grandparents of what is occurring in their family’s home. Even if the children use grandparents as someone to confide in, remaining neutral is needed. Stability of this nature offers assurance in a state of confusion.
Grandparents offer unconditional love:
In the marital home during divorce, emotions are usually at an all-time high, and when parents are upset, the children may feel as though they are “caught in the middle”. Grandparents can offer acceptance and lend a listening ear to hear the fears and concerns of the grandchildren without being judgmental.
Grandparent’s home is often viewed as a safe haven:
As grandparents attempt to remain “GRAND” by spending time and attention focused away from the marital discord that is presented at home, this is often viewed as a safe haven, a place of refuge from the emotional warfare which may being occurring at home. Grandparents have not changed their feelings about anyone, activities of playing games, laughter and making ice cream sundaes at their home is still the same and that is comforting in the midst of change and uncertainty.
Grandparent’s relationship with the in-law:
Grandparents often become concerned about their relationship with their in-law. Maintaining a good relationship with the in-law is essential in order to secure their relationship with their grandchildren. Being friendly, does not mean that you endorse what has occurred in the marriage but maintaining unity and being cordial will allow for a door to remain open for continued support of the relationship for the grandchildren.
Grandparents can offer additional support for parents:
Divorce is stressful and sometimes it is nice for the divorcing parent to have time to themselves without the children. Allowing children time to spend with grandparents for a week-end get away may be just the ticket to allow the children to distance themselves away from the problems at home and allow time for the parent to make informed decisions without the responsibility of parenting. This offers benefits for not only the children but also the grandparents to spend quality time with their grandchildren.
Grandparents often create a mental vacation:
Grandparents usually have a slower paced life that offers activities that home does not offer. Grandparents can often be found working in the flower bed through weeding and watering the flowers. Other activities may include, walks in the park, gardening, going fishing, and other fun activities that may offer a “mental vacation’ from the norm of everyday life. During divorce, a mental vacation is usually welcomed due to the stress that is often endured.
Grandparents often have enduring patience:
Since divorce is often associated with stress, the marital home may be in short supply of patience, whereas grandparents not only accept grandchildren but often have more time to give, therefore, patience is usually a virtue and is in abundant supply.
Although grandparents can offer many benefits to their grandchildren during divorce, a few points that one may want to reflect on are:
- Being a good listener and not choosing sides
- Keep emotions aside when visiting with their grandchildren
- Never use the grandchildren as an informer of what is occurring in the marital home
- Place daily reminders to say something good about both parents
- Grandchildren may feel vulnerable during this time, boost their self-esteem
Being a grandparent always present challenges, but by becoming sensitive and supportive through the divorce process, your grandchildren will not only be assured of your love but also the security that you bring to their lives when their world is changing around them.
Divorce Tool Box understands the divorce process and family dynamics. Visit our website atwww.divorcetoolbox.comto see how we may assist you today.