Divorce has an impact on the extended family. Not only do the spouses and children struggle during this time, but other family members are affected, particularly the grandparents. What can you do to make the transition easier on yourself, your son or daughter, and your grandchildren?
Offer your family a refuge
Everyone is in transition while a divorce is taking place. For children, this can make them feel a sense of instability. It’s important for them to know that every relationship they’re familiar with is not in a state of flux. As a grandparent, you can provide them with a stable environment where they have an assurance that nothing has changed. Knowing that the grandparents are there for the children helps both spouses during their time of transition.
Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty
Be the place that everyone can turn to for optimism and positive energy as they navigate toward the future. You may wonder if you could have helped to save your son’s or daughter’s marriage. You may question if you should have spoken up about things you observed. Instead, focus your energy on what you can do right now to help your child and grandchildren on the long journey ahead of them. Focus on being a dependable support system for everyone.
Stay in the neutral zone
You may be feeling some anger, frustration, resentment, or confusion about your son’s or daughter’s situation. Even so, it’s possible to remain neutral when talking to your grandchildren about their parents’ situation. Children will often come to their grandparents fielding questions and trying to gauge how other adults feel about them and their family. Seek to assure your grandchildren that your feelings about them remain the same and will be consistent after the divorce is finalized.
Keep the relationship intact
Depending on how the marriage ended, this can be difficult for grandparents especially when your former son-in-law or daughter-in-law obtains custody of your grandchildren. It’s up to you to keep the lines of communication open with your son and daughter, as well as with the custodial parent. Take a proactive approach to seeing your grandchildren. Continue to pick them up for outings and have them spend time in your home.
Securing Your Relationship with Your Grandchildren
What can you do if your grandchildren’s custodial parent stops you from seeing or communicating with them? Contact Rex B. Bushman, Attorney at Law for a consultation regarding grandparents rights.