Value your children’s grandparents: An excerpt from the A-Z Guide to Cooperative Parenting

Value your ex as well as their extended family; they are part of your child’s community.

Dealing with your ex is one thing but dealing with your ex’s parents may be an altogether independent source of conflict.  You may feel that the very reason behind your divorce is because of things that they did or said.  You may feel that the very reason why your ex was unable to be a good spouse was because of dysfunctional behaviors learned while they were children.  You may even be one hundred percent in your assessments.   At this point FOCUS on the needs of your children, you are no longer married to your ex.  Your issue is that your ex’s in laws will be involved to some degree in your child’s daily life.

You can view your child’s grandparents with a glass half full, glass half empty approach.  Focusing on their negatives will be a never ending exercise in futility.  The alternate approach is to focus on their strengths, no matter their limits.  It might surprise you that there are benefits to looking at our former in-laws with this glass half-full approach.

Your children will bond with your ex’s parents to some degree, because, if for no other reason, they are their grandma and grandpa.  Your ex’s grandparents will be there the children’s events, and will be there for their birthdays for thanksgiving and Christmas.

There are benefits to having your children exposed to your ex’s parents.  For example, let us say that your child has educational difficulties and your child’s grandmother is a teacher.  It makes perfect sense then that you let grandma help your child with his or her school work, as she could very well have helped your ex, or his siblings, with the same issues facing your child.

Hopefully you can get along with your ex’s parents.  Having a relationship with them may give you an ally in helping you resolve issues with your ex.  Your ability to effectively interact with your ex’s family will provide you many other benefits.  School functions and scheduled events become less awkward for your children when they know they can always run to either set of grandma and grandpa when they see them around.

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