Grandparents

Grandparents

Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. In an age where separation is far from an uncommon experience, grandparents often fear that such break-ups might result in a severing of the relationship between them and their grandchildren, especially if it is their child who has chosen to leave the family home.

Children benefit from reassurance in times of change – that they are loved, that it is not their fault and that they have someone to talk to about their feelings. It is important to remember they may feel conflicting loyalties – listening without criticising either parent will help them to continue to talk about their feelings.

Children may feel they are to blame for adult disagreements or bereavements within the family – a grandparent may help the children in their families understand the changes they are experiencing is not their fault.

Further Information for Grandparents

It is important to keep children informed at every stage of the separation process.

Encourage your child to tell their children what is happening. They don't need every detail, but they do need to know what is going on. They may not wish to be involved in making decisions, but most children will still want to feel they are being listened to. Encourage them to ask questions and give them honest and reassuring answers. If something is not yet decided, reassure them that their parents will have the answers as soon as they can.

Co-parenting following separation, divorce or a dissolution of a civil partnership can be tricky and challenging. Your ability as a grandparent to communicate successfully with your child and their child or children, meet their needs, for safety, support and love will have a positive effect all round.

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When parents separate they both remain responsible for the care and financial support of their children. Grandparents can provide a supporting role in this. Most think it is important for the children’s lives to be affected as little as possible by the separation and for them to have a similar standard of living when they are spending time with each parent. The law takes this view too.

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Relationship breakdown can be a very emotional time for children. Whilst children will react differently, depending on their age, personality and the individual situation, it is common for children to go through a whole range of emotions, which can include denial, anger, self-blame, sadness and withdrawal. However, with space, time and support they will work through their feelings and adjust.

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As a grandparent who is affected by separation, either in your family, or in your own experience, you are all likely to go through the grief (loss) cycle. Because we are unique human beings, it is difficult to tell exactly what we will feel and when but it is reassuring to know it’s all normal and won’t last forever. It is important that you take care of yourself and your wellbeing during this time, as well as be supportive and help where you can with your grandchild or grandchildren.

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NFM is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family

If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can also contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area.

All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.

 

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