Roles, and Relationships
Separation is a time of change, not only for the nuclear family, but also for their wider circle of family and friends. Special occasions and holidays may suddenly seem like puzzles to be solved. Friends and family may not know what their role can be in the changing family structure, and treasured relationships in the lives of parents and children alike may seem jeopardized.
While the circumstances of every separating family are unique, there are many common experiences of roles and relationships to consider. By considering the family’s wider support system in the separation process, parents can better prepare to find a way forward that maintains these important relationships for the wellbeing of their child.
Grandparents: The Forgotten Story
I had to stop going to my friends and neighbors because of course they had pictures of their grandchildren throughout their home. It simply hurt too much, and I found I couldn’t carry on for some time afterwards.Heartbroken grandparents, Kids ‘n’ Dad
Grandparents often suffer a triple loss when their child goes through a separation. Grandparents feel their child’s unhappiness and despair; they may see their child-in-law become a stranger to them; they often are denied or have limited access to their grandchildren.
A grandparent can go overnight from being an integral part of their grandchildren’s lives to an afterthought at the precise time that children need them most.
Many grandparents suffer the same feelings of despair and loss as their child. Often grandparents become divided over what to do and their relationship suffers. They become victims of physical illness.
Children often lose the sense of their two family heritages and more importantly “who they are” when this relationship becomes distant. Grandparents can provide the connections during this time of turmoil.
Grandparents affected by separation observe the joy of other grandparents and may feel powerless. It challenges all of their beliefs about fairness and our judicial institutions.
We at Kids ‘n’ Dad believe that every Parenting Plan must recognize the unique role of grandparents in ensuring positive outcomes for children. Legislators and judiciary must support children in maintaining this source of love. Child poverty can be mitigated when the love and resources of grandparents are part of a child’s life. For many children, especially teens, there is a sanctuary of calm and stability offered by grandparents – a place of unique love. No one has the right to take that from a child or a grandparent.
- Open Letter: Separation and Grandparents