Divorce impacts the entire family. Parents and children will obviously feel a huge disruption to their daily lives, and it takes time and effort to readjust to a new way of life. However, grandparents can feel the toll too. As grandparents, figuring out a way to be a pillar of support for everyone involved is difficult.
In this week’s blog, you’ll find some top tips on how to navigate the path of your child’s divorce, and maintain the relationship you have with your grandchildren.
As a parent, it's only natural to feel some semblance of bias towards your adult child over their ex-spouse or partner. However, it’s important to be as impartial as you can, especially around your grandchildren.
Even if you don’t get on with your child’s ex, they’re still a parent to your grandchildren and they’ll remain a part of your life on some level. Your grandchildren need a positive environment with minimal tension, and it’s down to the adults in their life to provide that. Refusing to speak to the other parent, or badmouthing them can increase stress, conflict and make your grandchildren feel even more confused.
Be a source of comfort, calm and consistency
Any divorce will see a huge disruption to routine, and children will inevitably feel that. That’s why it’s crucial to do all you can to keep up a sense of normality for them. If you see them regularly, it’s important to be consistent with that contact and be your usual self.
Do things with your grandchildren that they enjoy. From taking them on a day out, to just sitting in and watching a movie with them, knowing they have that consistent support will be a great comfort.
Communicate with both parents
Make sure communication is open with both divorcing parents. Even if this isn’t easy, it’s important to try your best. You don’t want the parents to feel like you’re stepping on their toes, or trying to take over.
It’s great to be as supportive as you can, but just make sure you’re on the same page as both parents so that everyone feels comfortable, and they can turn to you in regards to the children if they need to.
Focus on your relationship with your grandchildren
Your relationship with your grandchildren will be unique to you. Whether you’re really close with them, speak to them every now and then, or don’t have speak then often, the best thing to do is think about what they would want and go from there,
For example, if you didn't have a very close relationship with your grandchildren before now, you might find it challenging to build up that connection right now. In this situation, you can still be there for them, but try not to pressure them into anything they aren't comfortable with.
When you’re with your grandchildren, that time needs to be about them. Don’t ask them questions about the divorce, and listen to their thoughts and feelings if the topic comes up for discussion. If they do open up to you, make sure you frame your response positively and reassure them that the divorce isn’t their fault.
Be sensitive when it comes to special occasions
Big events like birthdays, graduation and weddings can be a real source of stress and tension for children with divorcing parents, especially if the divorce is high in conflict. Try your best to be respectful of both parents. Being civil and friendly might be difficult, but it will make the whole occasion much more enjoyable for everyone.
Every family dynamic is different, so how you go about navigating these big family events will depend on each individual case. Again, communicating with the parents about what they’ll be most comfortable with, and showing that you’re acknowledging the issue, will stand you in good stead.
At Starting Point, we want to make sure that the whole family can navigate this difficult time with minimal stress and conflict. If you’re looking for a contact centre that really cares, get in touch with us today.