Helping grandchildren through divorce

Divorce is painful for everyone involved, and can be particularly difficult for young children to make sense of.

Although it’s a difficult time, many families find a way to navigate divorce so both parents are happier and can support their children and provide a stable, loving environment.

As a grandparent it can be difficult to know what to do when divorce happens, but there is also huge opportunity for you to help and provide support and guidance. Here’s some things to keep in mind to help grandchildren through divorce.

Put the children first

Particularly if the cause of the divorce is something unpleasant and there is a lot of conflict between the parents, it may feel tempting to take sides. Children should always come first, and conflict second. Disagreements should take place away from the children and resist the urge to disparage either parent in their presence. Children pick up on much more than adults often realise, and even thinly veiled comments can cause real turmoil for children.

Provide stability

When children are going through change, it’s important to provide them with as much stability as possible, and as their grandparent you may be in the position to help with that. If you have regular days with the grandchildren, try and negotiate with their parents that these days remain as they always were, even if the children are moving house or will be living between the homes of both parents. On weekends or during school holidays you may be able to take charge of the grandchildren for a few days, providing a calm and stable household for them while other changes are taking place.

Stay connected with your adult child

Providing a listening ear to your adult child is one of the most valuable things you can do while they are going through the pain, stress and grief of separation. You don’t need to have all the answers – and in fact, your opinion may not be welcome – but being there to listen and support them can go a long way.

Stay positive about the future

When faced with the uncertainty of a family breakup, one tangible thing you can do is provide your grandchildren with hope for the future. Once the initial period of grief has passed, focus in remaining positive and helping them adjust to change and rebuild their lives. Believing your children and grandchildren are strong and that they will survive this upheaval will help them rise to this and believe it themselves. A positive outlook is more powerful than you realise, and can be contagious too. Use your opportunity to be a role model.

Do you have any tips with helping grandchildren through divorce? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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4th Jul 2018
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We have found the younger one at Junior School is coping much better than his teenage siblings. Perhaps because there are more memories, their expected family life has suddenly changed. We have found if they are all together with just us their grandparents they visibly relax and calm.
3rd Jul 2018
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Enjoy this site. I am keeping in touch with teenage granddaughters by what's app. Mother doesn't want them to talk to me but allows the texting. So I can support them in a small way.
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WhatsApp is such a great way to keep communication going and also easy to share photos and videos too 🙂
Margaret Hart
29th Jun 2018
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When people get divorced nowadays I think our generation tend to think they have never tried hard enough and it is difficult to have an unbiased view. Most of them live together before they marry and yet still they don’t learn to live together for the duration. When. They are fighting for the best settlement they tend to forget that they should be fighting for the best life for their children. If they manage to be civil about divorcing the children tend to manage much better but if it isn’t it can scar children for life. Grandparents have to try to ease the children through it by giving every scrap of love they can without spoiling their characters. Theyre always there for the children if possible but sometimes health can interfere. Many children have seen friends struggle with divorce but that doesn’t make it easier to bear your family falling apart and possibly losing their home and one parent which means grandparents become the one constant in their lives but they could be very emotional which is difficult to deal with. Any marriage has to,be worked at and there has to be give and take on both sides. We’ve been married 50 years in September but it hasn’t always been easy but you can’t just throw your hands in the air and give up.

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