When parents divorce, each member of the family is affected in very unique and personal ways. The age of the child, their gender, their relationship with their siblings, how close they were to each parent and a myriad of other factors all influence the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repercussions in the months and years ahead.
There are many others whose lives are forever changed by the complexities of divorce. Frequently overlooked and often tragically scarred are the grandparents. Custody issues are hard enough for parents to battle out. Few take into account the consequences for grandparents whose unconditional love for their grandchildren is such a healthy and rewarding part of normal family life.
Once again this is a time for clear thinking on behalf of your children. Should they be deprived of the warmth, intimacy and loving support of grandparents just because you are angry at your former spouse? When you take out your marital frustrations on your in-laws — your children’s grandparents — it’s your children who will suffer.
Grandparents have a special place in the lives and hearts of their grandchildren. Usually they are the ones to spoil the kids, indulge them, take them off your hands when no one else can come to the rescue. Of course, not all grandparents fit the idyllic stereotype, nor are all grandparents emotionally close to their grandchildren. But if your in-laws have a healthy relationship with your children, think long and hard before severing that cord.
A child-centered divorce honors and respects all the adults and children that play a part in your children’s lives. One of the primary factors in easing your children through the challenges of separation or divorce is maintaining their lives as closely as possible to their pre-divorce routines. The less disruption in their schedules, day-to-day and month-to-month activities, the easier will be their transition through divorce and beyond.
Spending time with grandma and grandpa, whether every Sunday, once a month or once a year over Christmas or summer vacation, is a routine that means life is going on with some semblance of safety, security and ease. Consider the consequences before interrupting or sabotaging that relationship. Don’t deny your children the support system they have come to love and depend upon out of spite, resentment or any other motive not of relevance to your children.
Divorce is tough all around. It makes sense to do the right thing every step of the way. Seek out professional guidance if you need help regarding decisions affecting your children. Let those decisions be motivated by your love for your children – not by your resentment against those who love your children, as well.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is recognized as The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce and is founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. She is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of the internationally acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! To get her free ebook, Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right! as well as her blog, weekly ezine and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
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