The dos and don’ts about divorce, grandparents, & grandkids and how you can help



They arrive at your church clutching their grandparents’ hands. These are the children whose parents are at war with each other. The grandparents are sensitive to the needs of the grandchildren, even if the parents might not be. Or it could be that the newly divorced parent is simply overwhelmed, and the grandparents are standing in the gap by bringing their grandchildren to church. These are the kids who have loving grandparents who want their grandkids to know that Jesus loves them.

As ministry leaders you accept and love on these little ones. You pray for them. You bring God’s Word to them. You want to partner with the grandparents, but sometimes you just don’t know how to assist them as they struggle to help their grandchildren.

Here are some dos and don’ts regarding grandparents and grandkids whose parents are divorcing.

First of all, help the grandparents understand it’s about the grandchildren. When the grandchildren are with the grandparents, the focus must be on the grandkids, not the adults who are divorcing.

There are a lot of things the grandparents can do to help the grandchildren survive the parents’ divorce.

Tips to pass on to the grandparents

  • Remember, your grandchildren are going to feel torn by divided loyalties. They love both parents.
  • Empathize with the grandchildren; try to feel what they are feeling.
  • Remember, they are your grandchildren, not your children.
  • Keep in mind the grandchildren have two parents.
  • Provide a safe place for your grandchildren to express their feelings about what is happening in their lives.
  • Be open to listening to your grandchildren without judging.
  • Listen to your grandchildren without making any comments. Sometimes kids just need a listening ear.
  • Provide a low-stress environment. When the kids come over, keep it light and fun. Make your home a safe and relaxing place. Grandparents should be a soft place to fall, a soft place where grandkids can relax.
  • Provide rituals the kids can count on when they come to your place. Maybe a greeting ritual or a good-bye ritual: a high five, a gentle hug, a fist bump. Rituals are the emotional glue that holds relationships together.
  • Provide a fun day or a relaxing getaway for a day, for a weekend, and during holidays.
  • Always remember your grandchildren on their birthdays by calling, emailing a birthday card, or mailing a card, and provide a Scripture in the card.
  • Offer to babysit during a parent’s appointments.
  • Offer to take grandchildren to appointments so the parent doesn’t have to take off work.
  • Take the grandkids on some fun outings.
  • Play with your grandchildren.
  • Pray with your grandchildren.
  • Take them to church or VBS (Vacation Bible School).
  • Pay for your grandchildren to participate in a church camp.
  • Read them Bible stories.
  • Text short Scripture on the day of a test.
  • Share answers to your prayers.

The don’ts

Grandparents love their grandchildren, and most want to help. There are only a few things to caution them about. For instance:

  • Don’t use the grandchildren to get information about the parents’ marriage.
  • Don’t bash the other parent.
  • Don’t talk negatively about the other grandparents.
  • Don’t ask prying questions about what goes on at home with the other parent. The grandchildren need to feel that your home is an emotionally safe place. When you ask prying questions, it may no longer feel safe emotionally. The kids are under enough stress already with their parents fighting or a parent asking about the other parent’s lifestyle. Give these little kids a break and make them the center of attention when they are with you.  

Most importantly, pass on the faith

Help grandparents realize they can be a catalyst in passing on their faith heritage to the grandchildren. The best way for them to do this is to model a Christian lifestyle. Living a Christian life when one parent or even both parents might not be, will speak loudly to the grandchildren. Grandparents can be the ones who pass on God’s words and His praiseworthy deeds to their grandchildren.

Psalm 78:4: “We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”


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