DIVORCING PARENTS AND THEIR ADULT CHILDREN
A recent two-part blog addresses how adult children of divorcing parents react to and cope with the divorce of their parents. If you’ve read this blog topic and you are a divorcing parent with adult children, this blog is for you. The breakup of your long-term marriage is likely a tremendous upheaval in your life. The shock waves move outward, impacting your adult children and possibly other family members and close friends. Are you responsible for helping them deal with their initial grief and confusion? No, this is something that each adult child will handle in his or her own way. Are there things you can do (or not do) that will burden your adult children less during this difficult transition? Absolutely.
First, regardless of the transgressions of your divorcing spouse, don’t expect your adult children to take sides in the divorce. Better still, make it clear to them that you understand it’s a difficult time for everyone, and that you want them to continue their relationship with the other parent. Parents are forever, even when marriages aren’t. Trust your adult children to work out their issues with your divorce and their other parent in time and be flexible in giving them sufficient time to do so.
Strongly resist the temptation to confide unnecessary details about your marriage breakup to your adult child. Meet your own needs for support by engaging a competent counselor/therapist/coach to help you through your divorce and post-divorce adjustment. Your adult children have their own issues, families, careers to deal with in addition to their inevitable grief and multiple mixed emotions about your divorce. Even if you are very close to your adult children, spare them the anguish of putting them in the middle or leaning on them for emotional support that may exhaust them mentally and physically. They really don’t want or need to hear the intimate details of your breakup no matter how much you feel compelled to talk about it.
You can also stifle any ungracious remarks about the divorce or post-divorce behavior of your spouse. Making denigrating comments about your adult child’s other parent shows your lingering bitterness and anger to your adult child, placing them in the difficult position of either supporting or disagreeing with your assessments. This can cause your adult child to feel uncomfortable and resentful toward you.
Finally, if you enter into a new romantic relationship during the divorce, think long and hard before immediately introducing your special person to your adult children. Most adult children want each parent to ultimately find a new relationship and happiness, but maybe not before the divorce papers are even signed. Remember that your adult children are grieving the loss of your marriage and stable family relationship. Giving them the time and space to do so without introducing a new person into the mix can be one of the most considerate gestures you can make.
The Law Office of Jeanne Coleman focuses its practice on family law matters, including collaborative divorce, social security disability cases, and dependency cases. Call now for a consultation appointment with Jeanne to handle all or a portion of your case. Jeanne has been meeting the family law, dependency and social security disability legal needs of Tampa Bay clients for more than twenty-five years.
Contact the Law Office of Jeanne Coleman at: 813-253-2820