Although divorce rates nationwide have declined, divorces among couples married for decades seem to be gathering momentum. Known as gray divorces, the couple often waits until their children are out of the house to dissolve the marriage. However, what divorcing couples do not always consider is that the burden of divorce can hit older children very hard. In fact, adult children of divorcing parents see the experience from a unique lens. Parents can help their older children get through this time of change by curbing personal tendencies and anticipating children’s reactions.
A common complaint among adult children of divorcing spouses is that their parents begin to treat them like friends, not as their children. As such, one parent may divulge information about the other parent that paints them in a negative light. The adult children are then expected to choose sides, or listen to uncomfortable stories, which is unfair. Even in the case of a messy divorce, the couple should rely on their friends and family members for emotional support, not their children.
Older Children Must Be Given Time to Grieve
Upon hearing about their parents’ divorce, many older children report feeling as if their worlds have come to a crashing end. They may replay their childhood years mentally, wondering if what they perceived as a strong family was merely a facade. This can result in depression, confusion, bitterness, and anger. Divorcing parents can help their children through this natural grief process by giving them time to absorb the new information and realities of life.
Some parents assume that their children always knew that a divorce was imminent, only to discover that an adult child never saw the event coming. In that circumstance, the child could strike out at one or both parents. They may also pull away from the parents for a time, cutting off communication. Although this can be tough for both parents, they should recognize and accept that their child needs space.
Even though you may be satisfied with the decision to move on from your marriage, your older children may have different views. Schedule a free consultation today by calling us at 856-751-5505 or contact us online. Located in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County.