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How can grandparents influence children after divorce?

When you're divorced, you probably do your best to keep your kids out of your arguments with your ex. Despite that, there are other parties who can still have an influence on your children. For instance, your ex-mother and father-in-law may not have nice things to say about you. Still, they shouldn't be involving your child in that discussion. If you find that your children's grandparents aren't being civil, it may be time to consider going to court to work out the problem early enough to stop any further contention.

It's important for grandparents to be role models and to accept and understand the situation. Despite what has happened between their children, their grandchildren shouldn't have to suffer. If a grandchild wants to talk about her mom to her ex-parent-in-laws, they shouldn't stop her or talk negatively. Instead, supporting what is being said and at least listening can help ease tension that a child may not even know is there.

It's not fair for a child to be caught between grandparents and parents in terms of who likes or hates who. To that child, everyone involved is a loved one. A child shouldn't have to feel that his grandfather hates his mother or that his dad hates his mom. Any of these situations is detrimental to his overall mental health and well-being.

Grandparents should empathize with their grandchildren and give them a place of support and understanding. This sets up the future relationship too, as it builds a strong sense of trust and protection. In the future, when your child needs someone to talk to, it may not be you as his mother or father; instead, it could be a grandparent who has always been supportive, and that's a goal for any relationship.

Source: The Huffington Post, "How Grandparents Affect Grandchildren After Divorce," Lorraine C. Ladish, Sep. 09, 2015

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