How grandparents can help their grandchildren when mommy and daddy get a divorce



Grandparents can have a profound impact on the lives of grandchildren living through the  divorce of their parents.

First thing grandparents need to realize is many of these grandchildren are experiencing a trauma in their lives. Divorce is traumatic and many of these children need someone outside the home to help them process all that is happening in their lives. Without help, these children can carry the trauma with them for the rest of their lives.

Visual experiment for grandmas and grandpas

Visualize a large container about half full of clear liquid. In this container with liquid there is something that is swirling around in the liquid. This special ingredient swirling around is colorful. The colorful liquid is trying to mix with the plain liquid.

Now imagine that the container is their grandchild and the plain clear liquid is all of the child’s emotions. The colorful liquid is the spiritual part of a child’s life. But because the parents are caught up in the war of divorce they don’t have much time or where withal to pour scriptures and God’s truths into their children.

This is where loving Christian grandparents can fit into the child’s life. They can be the person that stirs all of the emotions together and helps the spiritual colorful liquid mix into the child’s life.

They can also be the pitcher that adds more scriptures and spiritual truths into the child’s life.

Heather Forbes, who is an author and gives helpful advice on challenging behavior children, says, “Children are emotional beings. They are deeply emotional and spiritual creatures that we have somehow come to view as ‘little rational and logical thinking adults’.”

This is very true when it comes to children living in divorcing homes. Their young brains are not developed. They are not small rational and logical thinking adults. They are children and teens that need help processing all that is going on in their young lives. And this is where grandparents can make a difference.

Grandparents can

  • Read stories out of the Bible
  • Snuggling on the couch or sitting outside in a porch swing, share how different Bible stories impacted your life. Be careful of coming across as spiritual or too “biblical.” One of my grandkids thought it was funny that when I was little and heard the story about Jesus visiting Mary and Martha’s house that I thought Mary was going to get in trouble because she wasn’t helping Martha with dinner. Mary just sat at the foot of Jesus listening. I shared how even today I struggle with being a “Martha” and not listening to what the Bible is telling me.
  • Share how God is working in your life today. Tell the grandkids God continues to work in our lives even when we are old and are grandparents.
  • Provide a scripture of the week or day if the children are receptive.
  • Take the grandchildren to church and I don’t mean just on Sunday mornings but to family oriented events and church family dinners. Children of divorce need to see church family in action.
  • Introduce grandchildren to your friends. It never hurts for a grandchild to have many elder friends in a church family.
  • And of course grandparents need to pray for and with their grandchildren.

In my church we have a ten year-old boy who comes to church with his grandmother. He lives in a dad-only home. His grandmother keeps me abreast of different situations and she also passes message to him from me when he can’t come to church. When he hasn’t been at church for a couple of weeks he seeks me out. I always give him the biggest bear hug and he hugs me right back. I like to think his I’m serving on his grandmother’s team and together we are pouring spiritual truths into this young man.

Grandchildren desperately need grandmas and grandpas unconditional love to help them through the trauma of divorce.

If you are a grandparent with a divorcing child, how do you pour spiritually into your grandchildren?

PS: If you don’t have grandchildren, or if they don’t live nearby, you can become an “adopted” grandpa or grandma and fill this role in the life of a child in your church or neighborhood.

Helpful resource:  Linda was interviewed on an Internet radio show about grandparents. You can download the podcast, “Grandparents Raising and /or Helping GrandKids Through Divorce” and listen to it or pass it along to someone else.

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