As a divorcing parent, you may have conflicted feelings about what role your kids’ grandparents should play in their lives during this time. That’s likely true when it comes to your soon-to-be-former in-laws. However, grandparents can be an important source of comfort and stability to kids whose parents are splitting up.

During the pendency of divorce proceedings and even after, grandparents may be unsure of what to do and say around their grandchildren. Some guidance from you might be helpful. Certainly, you want to make sure that no grandparent is taking sides or speaking critically of either parent. Likewise, you shouldn’t speak negatively about your spouse’s parents to your kids, no matter what your opinion is of them.

As a parent, you can help facilitate healthy grandparent-grandchild relationships by working to keep them as normal as possible. If your kids are used to visiting or talking with their grandparents on a regular basis, try to maintain that schedule.

It’s often best if kids can count on time spent with their grandparents during the divorce to be fun. However, children may feel comfortable confiding feelings about the divorce to their grandparents that they don’t want to share with their moms or dads.

Remain cordial with your spouse’s parents. They will likely be in your life for some time. You’ll probably be seeing them at graduations, weddings and perhaps holidays.

However, if you learn that they’ve said or done something that could be harmful to your child or your relationship with your child, talk to them firmly but politely about your concerns. Let them know that you want them in your child’s life, but that they need to respect you as their parent — no matter how they feel about the divorce or you.

If you want to include provisions about your children’s grandparents in your parenting plan, your family law attorney can help you draft them. However, it’s typically best when families work together to push aside their negative feelings toward one another and focus on what’s in the best interests of the children.