Grandparents’ Role Post-Divorce

The grandparent’s role post-divorce can be tricky – a balancing act between supporting their own offspring and not showing frustration towards the other parent. Having contact with their former daughter/son-in-law can be viewed as an act of treason by their own adult child. Yet continuing a relationship with this former family member is a logical way to ensure contact with grandkids. Keeping feelings, advice, and opinions to themselves is difficult, however it is a wise way to maintain the equilibrium when grandchildren are in the picture.

Grandparents’ most important function is providing a haven where youngsters receive unconditional love. When kids are caught in the middle of warring parents, spending time with grandparents helps to offset this stress. They feel safe and can share their unsettling feelings. The Grandparents’ role is to listen and validate this frustration without appearing to take parental sides. My former mother-in-law badmouthed me within hearing distance of my sons and her passive husband refused to come to their aid. This behavior backfired and my sons limited their time being in their company.

Grandparents are many times the ones who hand down family traditions, whether it is baking holiday cookies or the secret recipe for a signature meal. They teach skills such as gardening or nurture family talents as in woodworking or playing the piano. They tell family stories and talk about emigrating from a distant land.

When there are blended families, it is often grandparents who welcome the new additions. My step-grandparents treated me as one of the gang and asked about my mother. My paternal grandparents on a farm enjoyed getting two new step-grandkids. They taught them skills, such as milking a cow and harvesting potatoes. My step-siblings and I were welcomed with open arms by both of our families.

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