Gray divorce has become quite a trend in today’s society. Oftentimes, couples will choose to stay together for the kids, and then by the time they get around to divorcing each other— there are grandkids, retirement, and 401k’s to consider. Divorcing at a later age has plenty of additional challenges. But, one of the toughest ones— is divorcing grandparents.
No grandparent wants to see those sad eyes on their grandkids, but when it comes to finding your own happiness— sometimes it’s just essential. So, we’re going to help you navigate how to tell them about your divorce, what to say, and why you cannot feel bad for choosing to honor yourself after so many years.
When Grandparents Divorce: Telling the Grandkids
Start by telling your own children first
It is important that you do not blindside your own children with this at the same time as your grandchildren. While they are adults, it is possible that they’ve looked up to your marriage for some time. You might not expect an adverse reaction, but there is the possibility of one. Therefore, take the grandchildren out of the equation and let adult children digest it first. This will help you all go in as a united front when the time comes. In doing this, you honor your relationship with your children first. Not to mention, you make sure that their tears and reaction don’t cause a mass panic amongst the children.
Then, plan a dialogue with your children that will be most effective with the grandchildren
You know your grandkids. You know their trigger points, how they process emotion, and how to handle them. Make sure you honor that from child to child. Telling your grandchildren about a divorce can be just as traumatizing as telling them about a divorce amongst their own parents.
The same questions arise: “what did I do to cause this?” “Are mom and dad getting a divorce too?” “Do you not love each other anymore?” Kids sometimes ask the tough questions— those ones you might not want to answer. But, being open with them to the extent of answering their questions, but not going too far is important.
You want them to understand just as much as they understand. But you have to find a way to convey your message without being nasty to each other. This is why we suggest planning a dialogue with your own children first. There might be certain topics they want you to avoid, or address.
Know that everyone will be just fine
There is no doubt that there will be sadness, and maybe some tears. But, in the long run, no one will blame either of you for honoring your needs. You are the driving force for this family, the matriarch and patriarch, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely selfless. You are grandparents, but that doesn’t make you not human. If a divorce is what you need, and you both have come to an agreement— all the nitty gritty stuff will be worth the end result. We wish you luck as you navigate these tricky times.