Part two: The role of grandparents after divorce

Given the fact that grandparents play such a vital role in a child’s life, in our last post we focused on why grandparents should maintain relationships with their ex-son-in-laws and ex-daughter-in-laws. This is not intended to create a rift between an adult child and their parent, but rather to strengthen the bonds and maintain visitation time with grandchildren after a divorce.

However, when spending time with grandchildren, grandparents should be prepared for the fact that the children may bring up the divorce. A lot of times, due to the stability of their grandparents’ homes, children may feel comfortable enough to open up. When this happens, grandparents should be listeners and be there for the grandchildren. Grandparents should make sure to respond positively and always make sure the children understand the divorce was not their fault.

In cases where a grandparent does have strong opinions on the matter, keep in mind the grandchildren love both of their parents. When talking with grandchildren, it is not time to point fingers at either parent.

All of this being said, the divorce should only be talked about when the grandchildren bring it up; not the other way around. In cases where the grandchildren bring up an issue that the parent should know about, grandparents should bring this up with the parent, but not in front of the children. Also make sure to not be accusatory when bringing up the issue, but rather be sympathetic and keep in mind that everyone’s best interests are the children.

In the end, grandparents should recognize the fact that they play an important role in their grandchildren’s lives. In situations where a parent is trying to keep a grandparent out of their grandchild’s life, or in situations where a parent is incapable of caring for their child and the grandparent should be in charge, an attorney should be contacted.

To learn more, visit our St. Louis grandparents’ rights page.

Source: Huffington Post, “Helping Grandkids Survive Divorce,” March 29, 2013

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