Being a grandparent in the midst of your adult children’s divorce can be a tricky situation. Grandparents will want to be there for their adult child while also offering support to the grandkids. As everyone is likely to be feeling various amounts of stress, you should navigate this role as a caregiver and supporter for your family with care during this challenging transition. Here are five tips for how you can there for your family during this difficult time:
Maintain Your Relationship With Your Grandchildren. Grandparents are a source of comfort, fun and plenty of love for many grandchildren. As such, your steady presence could be a source of reassurance during this difficult transition. When around your grandchildren, keep things as normal as possible. If you have regular visits with them, stay on this schedule as best as you can. If you won’t be able to spend much time together, connect over the phone or video calls.
Stay Neutral. Don’t interfere with your grandchildren’s’ love for either of their parents. When speaking about the divorce or their other parent, keep the conversation positive or, at the very least, neutral. Don’t pry your grandchildren to give you information about what they’re observing concerning the divorce. Let them share what they what to with you. However, do take care to ensure that they are healthy and safe in both of their homes.
Be Smart About Your Relationship With the Other Parent. The other parent of your grandchildren will remain a part of your life on some level. You may see them only periodically at events for the children, or you may have to interact with them frequently if they’re dropping the kids off to see you. Keep your relationship cordial. This will make it easier to be together in moments that truly matter like school graduations or even a grandchild’s future wedding.
Be Understanding When It Comes to Special Occasions. Moving forward, traditions with your grandchildren for things like birthdays and holidays might not be quite the same. While you may have always spent birthdays with your grandchildren on their actual birthdays, their parents’ divorce might impact that arrangement from now on. Accept the fact that they might be with their other family over specific dates that they were often with you. But also, know that you’ll have your time with them, too. Now is the time to focus on building new traditions that you can carry on as you all move forward.
Be Positive. Divorce is especially hard on children. You may not be able to take away their pain, but you can do your best to lighten their spirits when you spend time together. Keep your time with your grandkids fun and light. Have a positive attitude, and keep things low-stress. Have ideas for fun things to do that you know they will enjoy and will take their mind off any stress they might be feeling at home. Be a positive role model for your grandkids.