More studies on the effect of divorce on the grandparent-grandchild relationship are taking root in recent years due to the higher reports of family alienation from elderly folks across the world. In the past, divorce lawyers and mediators focused more on the divorcing couple and potential parental alienation issues. Hardly any literature investigates the effects of the relationship between grandparent and grandchild.
Couples considering divorce or in the process of divorce may want to look at the importance of grandparents in their children’s lives and make room for them to interact regularly. The effects, either positive or negative, very much depends on the decisions made by the divorcing parents.
Let’s look at some of the positive effects that result in a better relationship between grandparent and grandchild.
1. Grandparents as a safe harbour
In an ideal situation, both parents would have taken joint custody of their children, and share the child-rearing duties. In terms of living arrangements, working parents may activate grandparents to help with the care of the children during the day. Grandparents can become the safe harbour for their grandchildren, where they play a pivotal role in anchoring the grandchildren’s emotional, mental and physical well-being. By becoming the listening ear to their grandchildren, they help to answer difficult but necessary questions from their grandchildren.
2. Continual routines
Grandparents play a vital role in keeping the routines stable for their grandchildren too. Their presence helps to maintain regular habits as they can become the parental substitutes for school and play when the divorcing parents are unable to do so. Children adapt better when their routines are kept, so having active grandparents coming in to help with childcare increases the adaptability of the children of divorce.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, decisions made by the divorcing couple can produce adverse effects that result in a weaker relationship between grandparent and grandchild.
3. Grandparents as a threat
In unfortunate situations, divorcing couples view grandparents as a threat to replace them as the carers for the children. Usually, these situations arise when divorce is conflicted. It could also be due to an existing conflict between the parents and grandparents. The divorce drove the adults further apart, effectively breaking the relationship between grandparent and grandchildren. Some parents may intentionally alienate the grandparents from their grandchildren. The minimised or lack of contact over a period eroded the relationship and grandparents may lose connection entirely from their grandchildren over time.
It is, therefore, crucial to educate divorcing parents on the positive effects of grandparents in the lives of their children. Parents who are going through the divorce process in Singapore may cope better if they allow their children to maintain regular contact with their grandparents as the relationship can work wonders for the children.
Grandparents need to play their part by being neutral parties in the whole divorce process though and focus their energies on helping their grandchildren. By becoming the pillar of support, they can help their grandchildren bounce back better and faster after the divorce.
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