One of your children is divorcing. As a parent, you may wish to defend your child. However, you’re also a grandparent and your grandchildren are frightened and confused. Your response can make all the difference when divorce hits the family.
With nearly half the marriages in America ending in divorce, chances are you’ve had one yourself or been close to someone who has. The child custody laws use to favor placing the children with the mother which meant her family bore the greatest responsibility for assisting with the children. However, more fathers are stepping up to parent solo and shared-time is becoming more equalized.
Grandparents have also come forward claiming their rights to spend regular time with their grandchildren. But regardless of formalized times for visitation, grandparents may host their grandchildren more often as they fill in gaps for child care.
Our children and their former spouses may be at odds for years to come. A new step-parent may emerge or a change in residence or schools may be necessary. Change can be alarming and insecurities can result in poor behavior. Parents may be irritable and tired from long hours of work and the stress of single parenting.
A grandparent has the opportunity to provide stability
As grandparents, we may have a less hectic life and be able to spend time, both in quality and quantity, listening to our grandchildren’s hopes and fears. We won’t have all the answers but we can fix a spaghetti dinner and bake cupcakes.
As grandparents, chances are we’ll remain in the same home and city and attend the same churches and clubs. We’ll interact with the same neighbors and shop the same stores. We can include our grandchildren in a way that brings sameness and security.
Finally, we can interact as we did before. We aren’t governed by a divorce decree and won’t be caught in unending strife. We are grandparents, plain and simple. And when divorce hits, plain and simple can be just what our grandchildren need.