No one walks down the aisle with the idea that someday the marriage will end in divorce. And when it happens, it is difficult on everyone involved. Fears and concerns about money, property and custody can have everyone on edge. Parenting skills suffer during this stressful time and as a result, kids can be deeply affected.
One of the best people to help children through a divorce is a grandparent. Time and maturity has given grandparents a wisdom and patience that can help children thrive. And because grandparents are not directly involved in the divorce, they may be able to provide the trusted ear that children need. Read on for some tips on how you can help you grandchildren when their parents are divorcing:
Don’t take sides: It may be hard for you to watch your child going through a divorce. It’s natural to feel protective and even angry over the circumstances. But keep those feelings to yourself. Your grandchildren love both of their parents, and they may seek permission to do just that. Assuring them that they do not have to choose one parent over another may be one of the best gifts you can give them.
Allow them to vent: The kids are upset and confused. They may need someone to talk to, but mom and dad are both distracted. Providing a willing, but neutral, ear can be a real benefit for your grandkids. Right now they are looking for stability. Offer to hear them out, and just listen. You don’t have to offer advice beyond assuring them that things will be okay.
Provide stability: Just hanging out with grandparents can give a child a sense of stability. Maintain routines that you have with them, and add extra bonus time, as well. Grandparent time does not have to include great extravagances like amusement parks, movies and other outings. Simply being with you, reading a book or baking cookies is fine. It’s your presence they need right now, not your presents.
Divorce can be a difficult road, but eventually time itself helps create a new normal. By helping your grandkids navigate the journey, you are giving them memories and hope that will last a lifetime.