Divorces can be liberating, devastating, and everything in between. There are often a lot to hear or read about from the point of view of the separating couple. But divorces go deeper than the two of them. There are more people affected and most of their experiences go unheard. Of course, children and friends come to mind. What about parents? How do the couples’ parents deal with their children getting divorced? If you’re going through something similar, this may help.
Amidst all the feelings of confusion, fear, regret, and powerlessness, as outsiders in the actual marriage and divorce, you have the very important role of offering stability and a cooler head. Despite feeling that you have little to no say in the matter, you are a role model. It’s up to you to keep perspective and show your support. The Guardian advises to put your own grief aside for now.
Support can come in different shapes. As a parent, in most cases, your first impulse is to come to your child’s rescue emotionally and financially. But helping too much can hurt just as much as helping too little.
Instead of showing how much you agree or disagree with their decision, you can show your loyalty by empathizing with your child’s needs and asking them what exactly you can do for them. In that way, you don’t risk hurting their feelings in a time of emotional distress. Nobody wants to hear that they’ve invested all that time, emotion, and money on something that was never going to work. Similarly, you can’t expect your child to feel better if you told them they made the wrong choice.
In terms of financial help, it’s not uncommon to support your child after their divorce. They may even be in a state where they have to come live with you again. In any case, make sure you tread carefully and don’t end up enabling your child’s dependence. It’s nice to know that you’re there to help them back up, but the goal should be to eventually guide them to financial independence, too. In the end, that would also be better for them.
Your grandchildren will need you more than you might realize during your child’s divorce. There’s a good chance they’re feeling the loss and uncertainty of the situation. It’s up to you to help them understand that they are still part of a bigger family. Routine activities like spending weekends or afternoons together can really help make them feel that not all is lost. Assure them that you’ll always be part of their lives.
Sadly, some marriages end in non-amicable terms. Sometimes, for one reason or another, it becomes impossible for grandparents to see their grandchildren, particularly if the courts become involved. During these times, you can still help your child by consulting with and recommending child custody lawyers.
There’s really no good that can come out of alienating your daughter or son-in-law or their family. Staying in good or at least civil terms with them can guarantee your invitation to all of your granchildren’s life events. Beyond that, this person has been a part of the family and whether you had a caring relationship with them or not, keeping in touch can’t hurt.
According to WebMD, you are in the position where you can help your child rebuild their life. Make the most of that.