Eight ways to cope when your child gets divorced
If you’re a parent of someone going through a divorce, the most important thing to remember is to be their ultimate support system, and sometimes that means rising above your personal feelings in order to help them recover. It’s natural to want to take control and place barriers, especially if you’re a grandparent to children involved.
Each case is different and divisive measures may be necessary, but in this case, the feelings of loss belong to your child and it is your job to help place their children and their livelihoods first before decisions made out of anger.
Going through divorce is hard and when it’s your child getting divorced you may have to be a supportive parent as well as consoling grandparent.
Be loyal. That doesn’t mean condoning or ignoring bad behaviour, especially if this is what ended the marriage. It’s letting them know that you’re there for them, no matter what. You can still love and support them while saying that you don’t agree with deception, lying or nastiness and in taking that stance you might actually be able to influence how they behave.
Children first. Sometimes divorce comes as a shock and at other times parents will be aware that their child’s marriage is unhappy so it can almost be a relief when it ends. Resist the temptation to badmouth the son-in-law or daughter-in-law and simply remember they will always be your grandchild’s parent. You’re going to want to be at every birthday, see them at Christmas and still be on the guestlist for 21st parties and weddings so never put grandchildren in the position of having to choose.
Don’t encourage estrangement. If the grandchildren are staying with your child, it can be tempting to punish their partner by keeping the children from them. If there are genuine concerns about abuse to either the parent or the children that’s different, but otherwise remember that they need two parents and encouraging spiteful behaviour hurts the children more than anyone. Grandparents can be a useful buffer while everything is still raw so see being polite to the ex as something you’re doing for your grandchildren.