Divorce isn’t easy on anyone in the family, and grandparents are no exception. The hurt feelings, sadness and anger that erupt at the time of a separation can threaten and potentially destroy even the most loving of family relationships. For grandparents, focus usually turns to protecting their own son or daughter regardless of whose decision it was to separate. After all blood is thicker than water – isn’t it?
It is crucial for grandparents to try and take a neutral stance in front of their grandchildren. The most important rule to remember is to never speak ill of their former daughter or son in law in front of their grandchildren – never. The family dynamics are changing with one parent perhaps moving out of the family home or the home being sold with children potentially having to move school and friendship circles. Their safety net isn’t as tight as it once was and grandchildren need the stability, reassurance and support from grandparents during this difficult time whilst their parents navigate their separation.
Grandparents often become a grandchild’s confidant during a separation as children feel they perhaps can’t open up to mum or dad or burden them at this time. Whatever a grandparents thoughts are as to the separation one must put their own personal feelings aside and put on their happy face when with their grandchildren. If children hear another family member speaking ill of their mother or father they tend to take it personally and want to defend their mother or father. It puts the grandchild in a difficult position, of choosing sides and of being involved in non-age appropriate conversations. Taking sides or speaking ill of another may result in catastrophic events for grandparents as their grandchildren or former daughter or son in law may prevent all communication and not wish to spend any time with the grandparents.
As a grandparent you may have been close to your daughter or son in law and in turn their parents and feel a sense of loss by the sudden changing dynamics. Those relationships can continue to prosper albeit there needs to be a mutual desire to do so.
The most important thing to remember is that children of separated parents whose parents treat each other with kindness and respect are the children who do the best in the long term and the same applies to grandparents.
At bayside collaborative we can assist your child to resolve their separation issues constructively ensuring a positive outcome for your grandchildren.