Our grandparents are usually pillars of strength in our families. They have been through life together, raised children, and supported each other through thick and thin. However, this does not mean that grandparents can’t encounter marital issues. A divorce is an option for couples at any age or stage in life. In fact, the divorce rate in individuals over 50 has actually increased over the years.
While the legal process for divorce is no different for grandparents, other interpersonal concerns arise. Typically, when older couples proceed with separation, there are fewer arguments about property ownership and child custody. However, family members may notice the challenges of explaining the situation appropriately, especially to the children involved.
We here at Bass & Tigner, P.C. can help you and your family navigate through the emotionally taxing process of Grandparents divorcing. Keep reading to identify the best tips and strategies for communicating with your family and children to help them understand.
Keeping the separation a secret from children or other family members will only exacerbate the situation. Don’t sugarcoat what is happening either, as it can seriously backfire in the long run. If your children find out that you have been lying about the divorce between their grandparents, feelings of mistrust can develop.
The best approach here is to sit your children or other family members down and have an honest conversation with them. Let them know the realities of the situation, that their grandparents won’t be a combined unit in the same way anymore. While this might hurt at first, this will help family members come to terms with the reality of the situation.
Give Reassurance When Needed
After revealing that your parents are divorcing, family members and children will have questions. They will want to know how grandparents separating will impact their life, traditions, and other family practices. Furthermore, they might want an explanation as to why this is happening, especially if things seemed normal before. In this situation, it may be valuable also to have the grandparents sit in on the conversation.
Regardless of what questions are asked, provide children and family with the reassurance they need to understand the situation. Let the kids know that this has nothing to do with them and that grandma and grandpa have decided for themselves. If the grandparents are a part of the conversation, allow them to reassure the children how much they care for them. Emphasize that their individual relationships are not going anywhere.
Stay Positive About the Future
Witnessing a long relationship deteriorate and come to an end is a difficult process. Since grandparents often serve as the cornerstone for a family, their relationships and bonds are usually placed on a pedestal. We all strive to have a successful, long-term relationship such as theirs. So when grandparents do divorce, it can shock family members and children involved, encouraging them to change their views on marriage entirely for the worse.
If you notice your child making comments about how “marriages never last” or demonstrating other pessimistic views, don’t hesitate to intervene. Your child may think that “if grandma and grandpa couldn’t even stay together, how can I find someone?” This type of thought process will have long-term interpersonal effects on your children and even other family members. Don’t let them process these thoughts alone. Instead, guide them through the divorce and underscore the importance of long-lasting relationships and bonds.
Always Maintain the Relationship
As a parent, make sure to always include both grandparents in your child and family’s routine. Commit to creating specific times for your family to spend with each grandparent so they don’t feel like they are losing a part of their life. Just because their marriage has ended does not mean they will no longer be a part of you and your family. One suggestion is to create new traditions with each grandparent, providing them with equal opportunities to engage with your family.
Angelton Family Law Attorneys Bass & Tigner, P.C.
We understand that changes in family dynamics can present challenges and stressors to all involved. If you are separating and need assistance, don’t fear, we here at Bass & Tigner, P.C. have your back and want you and your family to succeed.