The grandparent-grandchild relationship is one of the most important in society. After all, when grandparents spend time with grandchildren, everyone benefits. As you may suspect, though, when your child divorces his or her spouse, your relationship with your grandkids may become more difficult.
With their wisdom and life experience, grandparents always have something to offer their grandkids. When grandchildren have to adapt to a post-divorce family, though, grandparents often play a critical role. Here are five ways you can help your grandkids during and after their parents’ divorce:
1. Remain neutral
Family dynamics can be hard to understand from the outside. Even though you are family, you likely do not know the intricacies of the relationship between your child, his or her former spouse and their children. By staying neutral during disputes, you minimize your chances of alienating those you love most.
2. Offer a stress-free environment
Until your grandchildren adjust to life after their parents’ divorce, you should assume they may experience some anxiety. You can likely help your grandkids cope with stress by offering a stress-free alternative to their home lives. Think about planning fun activities or educational trips to help young ones deal with divorce.
3. Maintain healthy relationships
To be sure you continue to see your grandchildren, you likely must maintain healthy relationships with both your son or daughter and his or her ex-spouse. As such, try to avoid wading into disputes. Instead, focus on working toward a productive future for everyone in your family. You should not, however, put up with abuse or other types of mistreatment.
4. Keep your own counsel
You may have some strong opinions about your child’s divorce. Still, the matter is not yours to discuss. As much as possible, avoid spreading gossip, rumors or news about your child’s divorce. Also, keep related social media posts to a minimum.
5. Always assume the best
One of the more effective ways to reduce conflict is to keep a positive outlook. That is, rather than assuming friction is inevitable, opt for an optimistic approach. When family drama occurs, do your best to stay out of it.
As a grandparent, you have a role to play in your child’s post-divorce family. You can likely also help your grandchildren adjust to their new, post-divorce family. With a bit of effort and some care, you can continue to see your grandkids without alienating their parents.