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Ways to avoid trickle-down effect when grandparents divorce

Back in the Reagan years, trickle-down economics was in vogue. The general idea was that you spur investment by giving investors tax breaks. That spurs production, which spurs job creation, which in turn puts money in consumers' pockets. Demand for all that upstream production goes up. Everyone wins.

Depending on who you talk to, the idea still has merit or is hogwash. We write about it today because there is the trickle-down effect is one that may apply to our topic -- grandparent divorce.

If you think about it, the potential for negative trickle is significant when older couples, who happen to also be parents, decide to break up. When younger couples with children divorce it can ripple up the generational ladder and down. But when older couples with adult children and grandchildren divorce, the fallout is all downward.

There's plenty of advice available to grandparents about how to support their adult children and grandchildren through family changes. But there aren't many places to go if you're on the lower rungs and grandma and grandpa divorce. So, here's some advice as offered by the website, LifeZette.com.

To start, let's acknowledge that so-called gray divorce is an issue. According to research, the divorce rate for those 50 and older has doubled since 1990. Next, let's acknowledge that divorce can put the parties through the emotional wringer. It doesn't matter how old they are. Finally, we need to admit that as parents, we have a right to protect our children from others' emotional upheavals.

If your parents divorce, these steps might be suggested:

  • Set boundaries with parents making clear you won't take sides. This is their problem, which you can't fix. Presuming you have good relationships with both, offer them both support. And don't let either of them badmouth the other.

  • Foster ongoing relationships between grandparents and grandchildren. This assumes there were positive relations to begin with. You can promote them by scheduling visits with each grandparent.

  • Talk to your children about the divorce. Some resources on how to do this can be found at such sites as childcentereddivorce.com and movingpastdivorce.com.

It's important to remember that parents are human beings. They have their good qualities and shortcomings. If you keep that in mind and strive to be forgiving, it can help everyone move into the future more smoothly.

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