A divorce between two people affects not only the couple but also all other people who are closely related to the couple. The children have to deal with a divided home, and the grandparents are left wondering about their status and role towards their grandchildren. No matter how amicable the divorce may be there are scars and marred relationships, and there have to be many new alignments and co-ordinations. Grandparents find that they not only lose on the time they spend with their grandchildren but they also feel a strain in the relationship, not only with the parents but also with their children. There are, however, a few ways in which they can play a positive role and be the bulwark for the broken family.
Remain Positive and Non-critical
Do not criticise the estranged parents in front of their children. Give the children a positive atmosphere and a place where they can get away from the stresses of broken relationships. Avoid taking sides, even though there may be a strong bias in your mind about who is to blame for this situation. If you project a positive image and your home becomes a place of refuge for your grandchild, continue doing that and provide the support that your grandchildren will need.
Maintain Cordial Relationships
Your child’s ex–partner may be bitter and resentful, but you should avoid getting into the same sort of mood. Maintain cordial relationships; it will not be easy but it will be definitely be one of the best things that grandparents can do for their grandchildren. Remain in touch with the other set of grandparents, and co-ordinate your visiting and playtime schedules.
Provide a Happy Atmosphere
Be a good listener and if your grandchildren love to come to your house, continue giving them a happy and pleasant atmosphere. Do not discuss the divorce with them, unless you feel that they want to talk to you about the issue. Many children believe that the divorce is their fault and it is only the grandparents who have the time and the inclination to listen to them patiently, give them good advice and tell them that they are not responsible.
Divorce settlements normally do not specify the role of the grandparents. If it is an acrimonious divorce, then the grandparent may not be able to bond with their grandchildren, since they do not have visitation rights. However, parents generally realise that letting the grandparents interact with their children makes life easier for them. If it is a divorce by mutual consent, then request the two parents to factor in your role by giving you specific visitation rights.
Respect the Settlement
If the parents have worked out their ways of dealing with the children, it is important that you also remain within those parameters. If the grandchildren are visiting your child during a particular weekend, be a part of their family then. Participate in the joint birthday or other celebrations, and do not let your resentment for the other side mar the occasion.
Author Bio: This article was written in partnership with Punam Denley of Blanchards Law, a specialist in family and divorce law.