Tips for grandparents during a divorce

When adult children go through a divorce, grandparents often find themselves in a sticky situation. While they want to be there for their adult children, it’s important that they do not say or do anything that could end up backfiring on their relationship with their own children and grandchildren.

This is why Marie Hartwell-Walker, a licensed psychologist, offers the following tidbits of advice for grandparents who are dealing with their adult children going through a divorce:

Stay in contact with the grandchildren: Right now is a tough time for the grandchildren too. Keeping consistent with the relationship, whether that be phone calls, emails or time spent together, is very important during this transition. If for some reason there are barriers being put up by the parents, reassure them that regardless of what your feelings are on the divorce, you will remain neutral about the situation in front of the children.

Now is not the time for advice: While you may be tempted to step in and give advice, this could end up seriously backfiring if either of the parents does not agree with what you have to say. Rather, lend a listening and caring ear, but do not tell adult children what they should or should not be doing with their marriages and divorces.

Keep negativity at bay: While it may be hard — especially if you have an issue with one of the spouses — saying hurtful and negative things will any escalate an already stressful and trying situation. Rather, be there to support, but don’t add fuel to the fire and join in on trash talking.

Source: Huffington Post, “Grandparenting Well When Adult Children Divorce,” Marie Hartwell-Walker, Aug. 20, 2012

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