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Your Children Divorced: How to Be a Helpful Grandparent


Grandchildren are some of the greatest joys that an adult can experience; there is something so exciting about seeing your own kids raise their own little ones and then being able to spend time with them and shower them with presents and extra love brings such joy. Unfortunately, in the event that your adult children get a divorce, the position the grandparents are placed into can be quite difficult. Knowing where to step in and help, what lines can’t be crossed, etc. can be a huge burden added to the grandparent who just wants to love and support the kids in the difficult trial.

A divorce can cause the grandparents to feel added pressure because they not only want to care for the little ones, but they also want to be there for their grown kids who are going through a lot in the midst of a divorce. Grandparents may also feel the urgency to protect the little kids from their pains of the divorce as well, whether this is keeping them from being placed into uncomfortable situations or from hearing heated arguments between their parents, the grandparents often will feel that burden for the little ones who don’t fully understand what is happening. Unfortunately, the grandparents, while they may be full of love, don’t technically have any specific legal rights over the children in the midst of a divorce. Once there is a divorce, the parent that is not your blood may not want you as involved in the lives of the kids, and so how you act in the midst of the divorce may help you keep a tighter relationship with the grandkids in the future.

Frist, as a grandparent try to stay out of the conflict, you may be tempted to favor sides but this may not be helpful for the children. Be there for the kids and avoid the conflicts that will arise in the divorce. Its tempting to want to express yourself to the spouse that is separating your child, sit back and let them handle their divorce, be there for the kids now. Second, try not to give your advice on the situation; as a grandparent you want to stay involved in the kids’ lives and trying to micromanage the divorce may present problems for you doing that in the future. Remember, your child is an adult and while they are choosing to divorce it is their responsibility to make the best decisions, keeping your advice to yourself may help you stay on decent terms with the ex which will be beneficial later on.

Third, try to keep in touch with the grandchildren during the divorce season. It will be tempting to want to pull back because of the messiness of the divorce, but if you have a good relationship with the kids it is important to be there for them in this difficult season. Even if this means phone calls and text messages, try to maintain a normal relationship with them. There may be the possibility that the other parent will want you involved less, if this is the case discuss your concerns for the children with their decision and appeal to be a part of their life for the kids’ sake.

Lastly, be a good example to the entire family in this situation. Divorces are challenging as it is, and the pressures that are added to the family can be difficult as well. Grandparents, you have more years of experience with life under your belt, try to lead your family to deal with the divorce well, and continue to show love to one another and support where necessary, Grandparents are helpful during the divorce to be more of the encouragers in the hard times rather than the advice givers, those divorcing are adults and encouragement may be what they need more than advice from their parents. This is extremely helpful in the future; the family will remember the support and comfort that came from their grandparents during the trial rather than being a person who added to the conflict and un-comfortableness of the situation.

While trying not to choose sides as a grandparent is beneficial for the kids, in the event of a divorce for reasons of child abuse or any form of domestic violence the situation will be drastically different. Even as a grandparent you may become aware of abuse in the home and your adult child may not be ready to take legal action, there are resources out there to help you go about he situation in a way that is best for your child as well as their kids. Abuse is a delicate situation so it is important to go about it with the proper counsel. It is important to be aware that when adults are involved in difficult situations like this, there is great fear about leaving because they worry more harm will be done. It may take many interactions with your adult child before they realize the gravity of the situation and are ready to make a move.

Whatever the situation may be for the family, a divorce can be rather difficult to go through. Whether a supporting grandparent or you are a parent seeking to divorce, contacting an experienced divorce attorney is going to be the first step to take. At Hutchinson Law we have experience helping families, who are going through divorce and other situations, contact us today for more information and case evaluation.