How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren through Their Parents’ Divorce
By Heather Baker-Mushkatel on April 3, 2013
When parents divorce, the break can be hard on children of all ages – no matter how amicably the marriage ends. While grandparents have limited legal rights to see their grandchildren in Arizona, grandparents who have good relationships with their adult child and his or her spouse can play a key role in helping their grandchildren navigate their parents’ divorce successfully.
Here are some ways grandparents can help their grandchildren navigate a divorce:
- Be a “safe haven.” As much as you can, keep the time you spend with your grandchildren during the divorce the same as the time you spent with them pre-divorce. This gives your grandchildren a sense of stability and safety and allows the two of you to focus on your relationship, not on the breakdown of the child’s parents’ relationship.
- Be an active listener, but not a therapist. Grandchildren who feel safe with you may want to talk about their feelings regarding the divorce. Listen carefully, and reassure the child that the divorce is not his or her fault. Try not to get drawn too deeply into the child’s concerns, however; your role is to be a loving grandparent, not a professional therapist.
- Be discreet. The emotions stirred up by a divorce can reach beyond the divorcing spouses. Even if you have concerns, anger, frustration, or other negative thoughts or feelings about the divorce, do not share them with your grandchild. Instead, focus on supporting your grandchild regardless of how you feel about one or both of the parents.
If you’re considering divorce, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced Phoenix family law attorneys at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.
Heather Baker-Mushkatel is an Arizona native who focuses in the area of family at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. Heather also has substantial experience in criminal defense law, including a background as a public defender in Maricopa County. Heather earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School. She is a highly active member of state and local bar associations who has served on several panels to educate young lawyers and law students.