Divorce how it Affects Grandparents

As emotionally difficult as divorce is on the principle parties, it can be equally devastating to the grandparents on both sides.

Divorce is a heartbreak for grandparents on so many levels. Not only do they feel the pain their own child is suffering, but they fear the ramifications of the divorce on their relationships with their daughter- in-law or son-in-law, and most importantly with their grandchildren.

How divorce affects the grandparents:

* Sadness

Grandparents are the audience in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. They support and applaud their accomplishments and successes. Their own lives are enriched by witnessing their children repeating the same happy life events they experienced.

Witnessing their own child in the loving environment of a thriving family is their greatest joy. Having grandchildren to love and interact with increases that joy to a sublime level.

When divorce rears its ugly head, the grandparents grieve the death of the relationship that once spawned such happiness.

* Fear

Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. They are as concerned for the health and well-being of their grandchildren as they are for their own children.

The moment the word Divorce is spoken aloud, the protective antenna of the grandparents rises, in the form of fear. Fear for all the members of the young family that is no longer intact. Most importantly, fear that their grandchildren will be hurt in the process. Additional fear that access to their grandchildren will be curtailed.

* Helplessness

Grandparents have lived long enough to appreciate the fragility of a wounded spirit. They know that divorce is going to impact the emotional health of their children and grandchildren and they are helpless to avoid the tragedy.

The extended family dynamic will shift, inducing heartbreak disappointment and disillusionment for all concerned. The grandparents know all their lives are about to drastically change, and not of their own volition.

* Access to grandchildren

If their child does not have full custody, the grandparents are also aware that the divorce could impact their physical presence in the grandchildren’s lives. The loving connection they once took for granted could potentially now require scheduling, arranging and doling out of time.

Access to their grandchildren might be limited and at the mercy and whim of others.

* Loss

When a divorce occurs, the loss to the grandparents is immeasurable. They often lose their connection to their child’s spouse, or suffer guilt if they maintain the relationship, fearing disloyalty to their own child.

In some cases grandparents lose the close bond with their grandchildren, as a byproduct of relocation. When a remarriage occurs, access can be further impeded.

If their child was married for a length of time, they may have established a relationship with their child-in-law’s family, which could potentially be severed.

Another more covert loss is potentially witnessing their own child’s decreased self-esteem and feelings of failure.

The greatest blessing in life is a loving family and grandparents who have enjoyed that blessing in the past, on the periphery of a happy family group, are required in the face of divorce, to adapt to loss, accept change, and to give and receive love in whatever new form it presents.

Divorce affects grandparents in the core of their being.