Young children are not the only children affected by their parents' divorce. Adult children are sometimes expected to be the ally of one parent against the other; however, just because your child is grown and perhaps even has a family of his own, does not mean that your divorce is going to hurt any less and making your adult child takes sides is never good. Parents of grown children need to behave like adults and be aware of their grown children's feelings.
Divorce is Painful
Recognize that your divorce may be even more painful to your children now that they are adults than when they were young. Don’t assume that your adult children will handle the news well. Avoid putting your children in the middle, even if they are adults.
Talk to your children and be honest. The news is going to be tougher if they hear it coming from someone else. If there are circumstances impacting the divorce that you do not want other people to know, it’s still a good idea to share the truth with your children. They will appreciate that you respect them as adults and are willing to confide in them. Don’t hesitate to answer their questions or to talk about the divorce in general.
Reassure your adult children that you both still love them. This may seem silly if you're talking to a 30 something child; however, it is a point often overlooked. Even grown children need to know that their parents will continue to be actively involved in their lives and in their children’s lives. We all need reinforcement at times like these. Children at any age need to feel secure.
Keep the lines of communication open. Don’t be surprised to learn that your children expected the two of you to remain together forever. No one wants to see the dream of eternal marital bliss shattered. Be sensitive to the fact that your divorce may prompt feelings of doubt in your children about their own marriages. Help them to understand that each marriage is unique with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Encourage your adult children to continue to love and support each of you. After all, it is going to be a difficult road for both parent s after so many years of marriage. You are going to need your children’s love, as much as they need you.
- Although it is not necessary to ask for your children’s advice concerning your divorce, you should ask for their opinions. It’s important for both parents to make the announcement with all their children present if possible. Gathering the family together opens the opportunity for everyone to express their feelings about the situation, paving the way to a better understanding of how the family is going to change.