When Grandparents Divorce: A Conversation with Your Children
by Jen Manning, LCSW
Talking to your child about divorce is difficult enough when it’s about you and your spouse. But telling them that their grandparents are divorcing can be just as difficult for many other reasons. If your own divorce is still fairly recent, this can add to the stress you are already feeling. If sometime has passed since your divorce, it can bring back painful memories for you and them. You may be concerned that your children are feeling that all the important relationships in their lives are ending.
So, consider waiting to speak with them about their grandparent’s decision to divorce. If possible, give their grandparents some time to make their decision and sort out what they want to do before telling your child just as you did. Telling them, then having the grandparents reconcile will only confuse them and add undue stress.
However, if you find yourself in a position where you have to confront the situation do so, be upfront and honest. Children are perceptive, even if you don’t think they know what’s going on, they have probably picked up on cues from you or their grandparents.
When you decide to talk to your child, be simple and reassuring. Give them space to ask questions and express themselves in an acceptable way. Try to allay any fears that every relationship ends in divorce by offering a healthy example of a relationship between people they know. Don’t make promises for the future, but let them know that each relationship is different and many people work with their partners ensure their relationships last.