When I was in law school I had a good friend, whose parents were going through a divorce. She was in her mid-twenties at the time. I know many people may think that divorce wouldn’t impact you if you aren’t a child. However, the experience I had with my friend and what I hear from clients says differently. While it is certainly very different to experience a divorce as a child or as an adult, there are certain things that parents can remember no matter how old your kids are, because whether they’re eight or twenty-eight, they’re still your children. If you’re going through a divorce with adult children here are four tips to keep in mind.
Your Kids Are Still Kids, No Matter How Old They Are
When your children are adults you may be tempted to treat them more like a friend than like your child. You may share with them the nitty-gritty details that has brought you and your spouse to divorce. However, no matter how old they are, your children should never be privy to this information. I know it can be hard to not talk badly about your ex and want to share with your child what awful thing your ex-did, they’re not the right person. Your child should stay our child and use your support network for when you need to vent. Ask your San Diego divorce mediator for connections to therapists and support groups.
Don’t Ever Put Them in the Middle or Make Them Choose Sides
In the same vein, no matter how old they are you should never ask your child to bring messages back and forth or put them in a position where they feel like they have to choose sides. By not sharing the sordid details of what’s going on, it won’t make them feel that they need to “choose” one parent over another. I think parents sometimes forget that even when their kids are adults, they still need their parents and that means they need both parents and shouldn’t have to choose.
Be There for Them Anyway They Need
While it seems that people think that when their children are no longer minors, the divorce won’t affect them as much. It can, and it will. The most important thing you can do as a parent is to just be there for them in any way that they need you. That’s being their parent and being the adult in the situation, but also helping them process and providing the resources when necessary.
Just Because They’re Adults Doesn’t Make It Easier
Most parents assume that because their children are no longer living at home and are off on their own that it’s easier to hear that their parents are getting divorced, but that’s not necessarily true. Often, I see parents waiting to get divorced till their kids leave for college and now when they come home on break they may be living in two new homes. It can be difficult enough transitioning to a new routine and then not having things from your childhood there can be tough. If you need help trying to decide how to break the news, contact your mediator.
For Part 2 of this article read, “Adult Children of Divorce: How to Cope” to support healing and rebuilding family bonds for a brighter future.
Family mediation services foster healing and transformation within family dynamics for adult children of San Diego divorce parents. Find guidance by contacting West Coast Family Mediation Center today.
by: Amanda Singer