There are many articles and books about approaching divorce as a parent; how to tell kids about the split, what environment to create for them post-divorce, co-parenting and so forth. But, as rates of “gray divorce” increase in West Virginia and throughout the United States, parents and grandparents may be grappling with another issue — explaining a grandparent’s breakup to kids. Thankfully, unless the grandparents in question are the primary caregiver for the child, the split may be easier to explain than a parental breakup. However, there are still some things to keep in mind to help the child better accept and adjust to the news.
One instinct people may have when telling kids about a grandparental split is to play it down. Mentioning it casually or sugarcoating it too much can have a profound impact on kids, who may not be prepared for how the news will play out if it is not shared fully. Rather than trivializing it, it can help to have an age-appropriate sit-down decision about the situation and clearly explain how it might change things moving forward.
Reassurance is key during these types of conversations. Children may have questions or concerns about the divorce and how it might impact their relationship with the grandparents moving forward. Assuring them that the divorce is not their fault and that everyone still loves them very much will be key to helping them understand the news. These reassurances may need to come from the grandparents themselves in order to be truly understood and believed.
Divorce rates in older adults are more common than ever, and these splits can certainly effect family members. Children may be most vulnerable or insecure in these moments, so it is important to reassure them and take the time to clearly explain the situation in full. In situations where there are grandparental custody arrangements or other legal considerations with extended family, a West Virginia lawyer is an important resource.