Don’t neglect your adult kids’ feelings when you divorce

Divorce among people in their middle decades and beyond has increased significantly in the past 18 years. Fewer people are staying in unhappy, unfulfilling marriages out of habit or fear of the unknown, especially since many are staying active and healthy well into their senior years.

Many people don’t realize how much they’ve grown apart until their children move out of the house. Couples who were staying together “for the sake of the kids” no longer have that excuse once their kids are young adults living on their own.

Divorcing parents generally don’t worry about how their adult children will handle the break-up as much as parents with young kids do. However, you shouldn’t minimize the impact that parental divorce can have at any age.

Of course, divorcing parents don’t have to worry about “custody” of their grown kids. They can decide for themselves when they’ll spend time with each parent. However, it’s always best if parents can find a way to spend holidays and other celebrations together with their kids amicably — particularly when there are grandchildren. Your kids shouldn’t have to worry about how their parents will behave when they’re together for birthdays, graduations and the multitude of events that go with being a grandparent.

Sometimes parental divorce can have a significant emotional impact on adult kids because it makes them question everything they believed about marriage. Their parents may have even been their role models for a happy, long-lasting marriage. They may wonder if their own marriage will eventually end the same way.

These fears can manifest themselves in anger at the divorcing parents — or whichever one they blame for the break-up. Be prepared to reassure your kids that your own marriage has nothing to do with theirs.

It may be tempting to use your child as a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to about the break-up. However, remember that it’s their other parent you’re talking about. No child of divorce, no matter how old, should be expected to choose sides. If you believe that a therapist would help you better deal with your feelings about the divorce and the resulting changes in your relationship with your adult children, your Arizona family law attorney can likely recommend someone in your area.

Source: LiveAbout, “How Midlife Divorce Affects Young Adult Kids,” Sharon Greenthal, accessed June 14, 2018

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