Divorce is a very painful and stressful situation for everyone. Children go through the grieving stages same as their parents. And worse, they blame themselves for the divorce. This is where grandparents can be of tremendous help.
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Grandparents can sometimes feel helpless when a divorce happens, but you don’t need to be. There are ways you can help your adult child and your grandchildren to cope in the most painful time of their lives.
Grandparents, Be There For Your Child
Your child needs you more than ever. She/he needs your love, your presence, and your total support. Be neutral as much as you can, but still be willing to let them vent. If your child asks for advice, give it but it should be reasonable and well thought out. Set your anger aside – hide your feelings for now. Listen to what your child has to say no matter how many times she/he has told you something. Your child is in pain, believe me, she/he just needs her/his, mom and dad.
Don’t Take Sides
Do not blame your child or his/her spouse for the divorce. No matter how valid your reasons may be, you don’t know what really happened. You’re just hearing one side of the story. It’s not your job to be vindictive, and certainly, it’s not your job to fix the problem. Just be there for your child and grandchildren.
Take Care of Your Grandchildren
Assure your grandchildren that they are loved and it’s not their fault. It is very hard for the children since they both love their parents and they also don’t want to take sides.
As a grandparent, you have to let your grandchildren feel safe with you. You can organize activities that could help your grandchild relieve their stress. You can also talk things over with your grandchildren, expressing that you are sad with them because of the situation and they’re not alone.
Do not say disparaging remarks about their parents. It is very painful for the child. Be fair and do not be judgmental. Your grandchildren need your comforting presence and will thrive with unbiased, loving authority. Help your grandchild to face and accept changes.
Let Your Grandchild Feel It’s Alright to Be Emotional
Let your grandchild grieve and understand the stages of divorce. A lot of children from divorced families are discouraged to feel sadness or even hope for reconciliation. This only adds to the feeling of being unheard and that their opinion is not important.
You’re Not Your Grandchild’s Therapist
You are a grandparent and you’re not your grandchild’s therapist. Do not broach the subject of divorce if your grandchild did not bring it up. Your job at this point is to listen and to always remind your grandchildren that the divorce is not their fault. You can acknowledge their feelings and tell them that you’re affected, too. In this way, children will feel that their current emotion is normal.
Grandparents play a very important role in a child’s life when divorce happens. You will be the next authority your grandchild can look up to. The next person they can trust. Your home will be a safe haven for your grandchildren. Keep it that way until your child and your grandchildren can get back on their feet.