Divorce Advice for Grandparents. Really? Yep.

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Divorced Girl Smiling is meant to give divorce advice to men and women who are either thinking of getting divorced, going through a divorce, or who are already divorced. But my own situation has made me realize that there is another group of people who are in need of divorce advice, whether they are married or divorced themselves: grandparents!

I’m referring to the moms and dads whose kids are getting divorced, and who have grandchildren. They can play a huge role in the divorce, sometimes without even realizing it.

Think about it. You got divorced. Are you best friends with your ex in-laws? I’m going to take a guess and say probably not. BUT, your ex in-laws still want to come to your kids’ sporting events, school performances, birthday parties and other events, so therefore, you still have to see them from time to time.

Here’s when the divorce advice for grandparents comes in. Let’s say your ex daughter-in-law cheated on your son and left him for another man, and they are now divorced. So, obviously, you’re not a big fan anymore. Or, let’s say your son was the one who left your daughter-in-law, but you can’t stand the way she acted throughout the divorce, so you can’t even look at her without feeling disgusted.

So, when you see her at your granddaughter’s ice-skating show or chorus concert, you have a few choices:

1.  Completely ignore her and refuse to even look at her

2.  Go off on her and tell her how you feel,

3. Be sugary sweet and fake

4. Be civil, polite or even kind and say hello.


Here are a 2 reasons you should choose #4:

1. YOUR GRANDCHILDREN’S FEELINGS! First and foremost. They are watching every move you make. If you are mean to their mother or father, it KILLS them. They can’t even enjoy the event because they are consumed with worry that their mom is upset, or that you are upset. If you are rude or if you ignore your grandchild’s mom or dad, you are a VERY VERY selfish person who cares more about your own anger and emotions than about your grandchildren’s best interest. Other possibilities: you are just really angry in life, you are unhappy with yourself, or you have borderline personality disorder. Or, if you personally are divorced, maybe you are still taking out your anger from your own divorce on your ex son or daughter in law.

2. Your son or daughter will follow your lead. You know how kids mimic everything their parents do? Well, that happens even as adults. No matter how old we get, we tend to take direction from our parents at times without even knowing it. So, if you are rude to your ex son or daughter in-law, guess what? Your son or daughter might follow suit and act just like you do. Isn’t there enough anger between your son or daughter and his/her ex? Do they really need YOUR added rudeness to give them the impression that treating their ex badly is the right thing to do? And again, who ends up suffering? Your beloved grandchildren, because you are so obsessed with hurting your ex son or daughter in-law, that you will use your grandchildren as the sacrificial lamb.

Here is some advice for divorced men and women. TELL your parents to be nicer to your ex!! They will listen to you!

A mature thing to say that is GREAT for your kids: “Mom, I know you are protecting me, but please be nicer to so and so in front of the kids. They are going to suffer if you are mean to their mother. I know you don’t like her. I don’t either. But for the kids’ sake, would you mind just saying hello and being civil? It would really mean a lot to me, and to my kids.”

I have so little tolerance for grandparents who treat their ex son or daughter in-law poorly in front of the kids, and have personally experienced it. It sickens me, as I feel the behavior is just downright irrational and selfish. I see the looks on my kids’ faces and it seriously makes me sick.

Look, I realize that at the beginning of a divorce it might be tough. But I’m talking about after years and years, some grandparents just can’t let the past go and be civil and kind. And a lot of the times, it’s THEIR son who left the woman, or THEIR daughter who left the son, and they are just mean to their ex daughter or son in-law because of all the negative things they hear from their son or daughter.

It’s almost as if they think they are scoring points with their son or daughter if they are mean to his ex-wife, which is so stupid.  That’s why it’s up to YOU (the divorced person) to set your parents straight.

Here’s what I want to say to grandparents who aren’t nice to their son or daughter’s ex: It’s never too late. I can almost guarantee if you say hello at your grandson’s next swim meet, he or she will be kind right back. And you will look at your grandchildren’s faces and see pure, organic looks of relief and happiness. Isn’t that what we all want?? Or do you get more satisfaction out of soothing your own sick, unending anger? The choice is yours.

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    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    2 Responses to “Divorce Advice for Grandparents. Really? Yep.”

    1. Elizabeth Buhrman

      I publish a free single parenting newsletter in the Omaha NE Archdiocese. I would like to use the article titled “Divorce Advice For Grandparents” and was wondering if you could give me permission? If I may use it how should I credit the article?
      Thank you for considering and blessings on your week.


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