When kids are young and their parents divorce, it can be shattering. The realization that family life has undergone a massive change that will last forever is hard to accept. Even if it was apparent that Mom and Dad did not get along, having it made official is terribly unsettling. But what about adult children? Although they may by this point have lives and families of their own, experiencing their parents’ divorce is never easy.
More older children are seeing their parents get divorced. The trend of older people ending their marital unions, called “gray divorce,” has gained traction.
As a result, adult children may lose some degree of the security they treasured since they were little. The foundation of that security has now been disrupted badly. In a way, they have to re-learn how to relate to each parent. You may also have to relate to them differently.
What can you to do help your grown children navigate the situation?
Helping adult children cope with the divorce can be tricky, especially if they feel caught in the middle. The following tips about calming the waters might be useful:
- If your children devise some ground rules, respect the limits they set and don’t overstep. They aren’t pushing you away; they are trying to stay connected to both of you without being enmeshed in the post-marital tumult.
- All of you have to keep communicating with each other. Don’t erect emotional walls that can’t be dismantled.
- You are still your children’s mother or father. They still need you more than ever to fulfill those roles.
The whole family needs a chance to adapt
Everyone needs space to get used to the divorce and its ripple effects. Take care of yourself, let your adult children know you will always be there for them and be patient while the healing proceeds.