In a divorce, it is not only the immediate partner and children that are affected. Extended family members, such as grandparents, play a vital role in helping navigate the after-effects of a divorce. Not only can they impact both divorcing individuals, but they can also help other family members cope with the split.
How to Be a Positive Force in a Divorce
Here are some tips for grandparents to play an active role in helping other family members through the divorce of someone in the extended family.
- Don't take sides in a divorce. Both persons were a part of the family and should be treated as such.
- Call grandchildren. Make sure that constant contact and visitation is maintained to provide stability and if possible, have the children stay at their grandparent's home to give parents time to deal with divorce-related issues.
- Remain patient. The family is going to be changing. Give it time to become what it will turn into.
- Stay out of it. Grandchildren may say things to the grandparent, but it is not always the grandparent's responsibility to tell the parent what to do. Unless the child is in danger, the grandparent should offer suggestions but not instruct parents on how to handle their divorce.
- Remain pleasant. Family gatherings will likely be awkward, and especially for the children. Grandparents should try and create a stress-free atmosphere for the family.
- Work with exes. No one will benefit if the grandparent is unable to have contact with the ex of their child. When there are grandchildren involved, the more cordial all parties can be, the better.
Divorce is not easy for anyone, but doing what is best for the children and other members of the extended family can help to ease tensions that come with the split of a couple.