How to Nourish Your Children’s Relationship Your Ex’s Parents

ex's parents grandmother's hand reaching for grandchild's hand


Gone are the days of staying together for the children. Divorce is rough on everyone, but kids are not a reason why you should stay in an unhealthy or unhappy relationship. We’ve developed our co-parenting skills until we’ve got it down to a science, but one that can be difficult is helping our kids form a relationship with their grandparents — especially our ex’s parents. How can you help nourish your children’s relationship with them?

Nourish Your Children’s Relationship Your Ex’s Parents

Maintain Regular Contact

How often do your kids talk to your parents? Calling grandma and grandpa can be a fun way to stay in contact, but it shouldn’t be limited to one set of grandparents. If they call your parents once a week, or video chat since visiting is currently discouraged, they should be doing the same thing with your ex-in-laws.

It might sound like an easy step, but if you’re only talking to your ex’s parents on holidays or during major events, you’re leaving them out of a large part of their grandchildren’s lives. That makes it hard to build a relationship. If you’re not sure what they could talk about during their weekly calls, maybe schedule them for later in the evening. That way, grandma and grandpa can read them a bedtime story over the phone or video chat.

Make It a Co-parenting Rule

Even if you and your ex aren’t on the best of terms, you should create a set of co-parenting rules that help define your behavior around each other and the kids. If nourishing a relationship between your children and your ex’s parents is important to you, make sure it’s defined in your expectations.

Rules help outline your behavior so you don’t have to spend a lot of time conversing with one another outside of the context of your children. This is helpful if you’re not on good terms. They can also ensure neither one of you is going to interfere with the relationship your children are building with their respective grandparents.

Be Prepared for Anything

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for everything. The spread of the coronavirus has made visiting friends and family members — especially those that are elderly or have underlying health conditions — anathema because we could be putting them at risk.

Make sure you’re prepared for the unpredictable. That might sound impossible, because how can you get ready for something you can’t predict? However, if you take the right steps, nothing will surprise you.

Keep Things Civil

This should be one of your most important co-parenting rules, whether grandparents are involved or not. Everyone should be required to keep things civil. Don’t talk crap about your ex or their parents around your kids. Don’t let your ex or your former in-laws disparage you and your parenting methods.

This can be a deal-breaker, so if you want to foster a relationship between your children and your ex-in-laws, make sure everyone is on the same page. If anyone breaks that rule, you may need to limit contact with them until they understand the consequences of their actions. It sounds harsh, but even if you’re not in a relationship anymore, co-parenting is still a partnership. Everyone has to be on the same page, or it all falls apart.

Keep Them Involved in Holidays

This step might require a bit of creative scheduling, especially if the two halves of your family aren’t on the best of terms. However, holidays are an important part of relationship-building, especially for grandparents. You’ve got a lot of options here. You can have one big joint holiday gathering if everyone is on speaking terms with one another and can remain civil for a few hours for the sake of their grandchildren.

If that isn’t possible, consider multiple holiday celebrations held on different days. Visit your parents one day and your ex’s parents next. The following year, visit the ex’s parents first, and then yours so everything is balanced. Whatever you do, make sure you’re keeping everyone involved in the holidays they celebrate.

Remember — They’re Still Family

Even if things fell apart between you and your ex, once you have kids together, your in-laws are still family. They deserve to have a relationship with their grandchildren. While there may be situations where this kind of relationship isn’t possible or wanted, you need to do everything in your power to keep communications open.

You don’t have to compromise your parenting style to help your children build a relationship with your ex’s parents, but you owe it to them to help them connect with their grandparents on both sides of the family. Your kids will be happier for it, and you can show them the value of strong family connections.

The post How to Nourish Your Children’s Relationship Your Ex’s Parents appeared first on Divorced Moms.



How To Deal With Children’s Difficult Questions About Divorce

children's difficult questions about divorce


“Can you and daddy get married again?”

“Why can’t I stay with you”?

“Do you and mommy still love each other?”

“Whose decision was it to get a divorce?”


Children in divorce often have questions; they can come at the least expected moment.

For parents struggling to adjust to the challenges of single parenting in a two-home family, such questions can strike at the heart of their own emotional vulnerabilities and trigger uncertainties regarding their relationship with the other parent, their own parenting, and the wellbeing of their children.

However, such questions, if responded to thoughtfully, can be valuable opportunities to help children adjust to real changes and instill hope and confidence in both parent’s continued commitment to listen, guide, and give comfort.

Deal With Children’s Difficult Questions About Divorce

Be prepared before questions arise. Understand that:

  • Children often ask questions when and with whom they feel safe and consider it as a sign of the strength of your relationship with your child.
  • Children’s questions can be about needing actual information, but they can also be about a need for deeper understanding or simply a bid for a parent’s reassurance.
  • Younger children often ask questions that have to do with changes and anxieties about their daily lives. They often need simple, brief responses that reassure their fears regarding the change.
  • Older children may ask direct questions about their parent’s relationships but are actually seeking reassurance for themselves. They may need reassurance that they can continue being children and do not have to care for parents, take sides and can continue their focus on independent goals.
  • Older children may also ask questions about their parent’s relationships in order to form their own concepts and expectations of their future romantic relationships and their concepts of love and family.
  • Don’t confuse intellectual understanding with emotional understanding in children. Intellectual maturity comes well before emotional maturity. Don’t give children inappropriate adult information.

When questions arise:


Take a deep breath and calm yourself before responding.

  • Resist the attempt to avoid the question due to fear or sadness regarding your child’s pain- Children are not immune from grief and sadness.
  • Recognize your emotional reaction regarding the divorce, yet put it aside- you can process any feelings later with your own support.


  • For younger children get on eye level and pay full attention
  • For older children give signals that you are listening but know that a little less direct approach or a little activity may make older children them more comfortable- you be the judge.
  • Ask open-ended, neutral questions to get a fuller understanding of their experience before offering a response:

“You sound worried/sad/mad is that right or is it something else?”

“That’s an important question, tell me more”


Ask yourself what they are really expressing/wanting/needing.

  • Are they primarily expressing emotion-do they need comfort/reassurance?
  • Are they asking for basic information that they have a need to know?
  • Are they asking information to gain a deeper understanding?

Respond with care and follow with comfort:

  • If the message is an emotional bid for comfort/reassurance, answer the question with a brief, direct response:

No I will not leave, both daddy and I will always for you even if we live in different houses”

  • If they are asking for information that is helpful and not hurtful to them or their relationship with either parent, give an honest, simple and neutral (not blaming to either parent) answer:

“No mom and I are not going to get married again, but we both love you and will always be here to take care of you- we will always be your parents”

  • If they are seeking a deeper understanding and the answer is not harmful, first help clarify their deeper question and give honest, brief and neutral information:

“I think you’re asking if you were made from love- you were. Even if dad and I care for each other differently than when we were married- our love for you will never change”

  • If the answer to their question is possibly harmful or “adult business”, reassure them that it’s okay to ask but that their job is to be a kid- not be involved in adult issues:

“It sounds like you are asking if anyone is to blame. I know you want to understand, but marriage and divorce is adult stuff and we are okay.  Know that we love you and you don’t need to worry or take care of either of us”

  • If the question is “adult business” but for the older child, really about their own future, first clarify the question and provide an answer to that rather than giving inappropriate adult information:

“I wonder if you are really asking if because we got a divorce that you question if love lasts. Every relationship is different and you will get the chance to make your own choices about love and who you marry”.

Children’s ability to navigate the shifts of daily life and make sense out of the bigger questions are essential parts of healing in divorce.  With each question, children begin to build a framework of understanding and learn what divorce changes and what it does not change.

They develop a more flexible, durable, concept of family and love. Children’s questions can be hard, but listening and responding with care and gentle guidance is one of the most loving acts a parent can provide.

The post How To Deal With Children’s Difficult Questions About Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Should You Stay Together for the Children’s Sake

Should You Stay Together for the Children’s Sake

Basically, when it comes to divorce and children a parent should do what they know to be in their child’s best interest.

The post Should You Stay Together for the Children’s Sake appeared first on Divorce Magazine.