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What constitutes "good" grandparenting during a divorce?

Divorce is seldom easy on anyone, including grandparents. It is natural for grandparents to be anxious about visitation with their grandchildren and other matters when their adult children divorce. However, legal rights for grandparents are certainly not the first thing that comes to mind in a divorce. A future relationship with the grandkids often depends on how grandpa and grandma handle the separation and divorce.

There are some important tips that grandparents can remember during a divorce. The first is this: Try not to take sides. Although it is a natural thing to do, remaining neutral and not finding fault with one party or the other could ensure the grandparents a healthy continuing relationship with the grandchildren.

Here's another thing to strongly consider: Try not to offer advice to either party. That is best left to an experienced attorney. If grandparents do offer advice, and it backfires, they might easily be blamed for it. Of course, lending a supporting ear is never objectionable, but adult children should be responsible for their own decisions. One clear exception to this is in the case of domestic violence or child abuse, when grandparents need to speak up quickly to help protect the victims.

Grandparents should seek to stay in contact as much as possible with their grandchildren, regardless of who has custody, reassuring each parent of neutrality and not discussing the divorce in any biased manner with the children. Effective grandparenting encompasses providing a safe place to harbor and the security that kids need during this change in their lives.

Typically, divorce comes with some stresses for all involved parties. With a growing number of marriages ending in divorce nationwide, including in Florida, children in any given family may be going through one. If that is the case, grandparents need to influence the grandchildren with tact, encouragement, love and good judgment. Doing so will ensure a better and lasting relationship.

Source: Huffington Post, "Grandparenting well when adult children divorce," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Aug. 20, 2012

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