When you are part of the special kind of non-traditional grandparenting that is becoming more and more common today, the most important word to remember is flexibility.
If you son or daughter has divorced, you might be concerned that you will lose some contact with your grandchild, especially if the situation is strained between the parents after the split. You may find that it is useful to maintain a relationship with your child’s ex in order to spend more time with your grandkids. It’s a touchy subject and you’ll find it helps to discuss it in depth with your own child. In any case, your time with the grandkids is likely to be determined by which parent has custody of them that day rather than when you want to see them. So you’ll need to be flexible in your planning.
No matter how you feel about the divorce, you know that it is hard for your grandchild to lose the presence of either parent, even if the stability of the marriage was already rocky for a time. The children may blame themselves for the divorce and act out behaviorally, making it difficult for you to control them or they may withdraw from you, fearing you will leave too. Help them adapt by being loving and accepting of their feelings. Avoid criticizing either parent to your grandson or granddaughter so that they do not feel uncomfortable and that their loyalty is being tested when they are with you.
Flexibility and patience are also called for if you become a step-grandmother. You will need to give your new grandchildren time to accept you, so begin slowly. They probably have already formed relationships with their birth grandparents so don’t try to rush them into considering you they same way. Let them know that you are not trying to take the place of their other grandparents, but only to add to their circle of caring adults. Learn about them – their early years, their interests and talents, their personalities. Keep your expectations realistic as you build a relationship that leads to love between you.
For help with your grandkids when your children have divorced, click on the title above to take you to our article on the HerMentorCenter.com website, How Support from the Sandwich Generation Can Help Britney Spears.