As a parent, you’re understandably sad about your child’s divorce. But you may be experiencing other emotions, too, including grief, anger and even fear that you won’t have the same relationship with your grandchildren that you currently enjoy.

Your child’s former spouse may get custody of the kids, and you may be concerned that he or she won’t allow you to share as much time with them as you’d like. You may also have a tense relationship with your child’s ex, and might be afraid to reach out and ask. These are common concerns, according to psychologist Dr. Terri Apter.

If you’re having difficulty maintaining a relationship with your grandkids, ask your child to reach out to his or her Barrie divorce lawyer for help. (Your child’s Barrie divorce lawyer may be able to take legal action that allows you to continue your relationship with your grandchildren).

Dealing with the Divorce

Often, grandparents feel they have two duties: to act as a sounding board for both their children and their grandchildren, and to help shield their progeny from the hostility and anger surrounding divorce.

Many parent/child and grandparent/child relationships become stronger during a divorce, according to a 2009 study conducted at Trinity College in Dublin. At the same time, relationships between grandparents and their child’s ex generally deteriorate—and that’s where the concern about visitation comes in, particularly if the ex has custody of the kids.

Helping Your Kids and Grandkids

Your kids will probably rely on you more than they have in the recent past while they’re going through a divorce. That’s normal, and as long as you feel equipped to handle it, do what you can to help.

Your grandchildren will likely see you as a source of comfort and as the one “constant” in their lives. Grandmas and grandpas often provide a strong sense of security to children—particularly little ones—during their parents’ divorces that no one else can provide.

Watching your kids and your grandchildren struggle with difficult emotions is also hard on you. Approach your child about finding a therapist or counsellor that he or she can talk to (with the kids) to help the entire family rebound during this difficult time. Your child’s Barrie divorce lawyer might have a local contact who’s qualified to deal with families and divorce.

Missing Visits: What You Can Do

If you aren’t seeing your grandchildren as much as you’d like, ask your child to communicate that to his or her ex. It’s almost always okay to reach out to your child’s ex if your own child can’t. Additionally, it can’t hurt to ask your child to talk to his or her Barrie divorce lawyer to find out if there’s any way the law can help you secure time with your grandkids.