If you’re in your 50s or older and considering divorce, you likely find some comfort in the fact that your child is already grown and on their own. You don’t have to worry about child custody and support matters and helping them adjust to living in two homes.
It’s a mistake, however, to assume that your child won’t be affected by your divorce. Parental divorce can still have a devastating emotional impact on a child – no matter how old they are. That’s especially true if they didn’t see it coming.
Often, people assume that if their parents have been married for decades, they’re destined to remain together. Learning that this isn’t going to happen can make them question everything they believed about their family – and even their own marriage. One therapist says they can “view it as a disintegration of their family’s history.”
Follow the guidelines recommended for parents of younger children
Every couple’s reasons for divorcing are unique, and their children’s reactions can be equally unique. However, many of the recommendations given to divorcing parents of minor children can help those with adult children. Here are a few:
- Don’t ask your child to take sides or disparage their other parent in front of or to them.
- Don’t share intimate or other details they don’t need to know.
- Don’t talk to them about the legal aspects of the divorce unless it’s something that directly affect them.
These things can be more difficult when your child is an adult. Parents often are used to talking to their child like a friend, so not being able to tell them everything they’d like can be tough. That’s why it’s crucial to have friends, family, a therapist and/or a support group to talk to.
Remember that you and your soon-to-be-ex will still be co-parents, even if your child is living across the country with children of their own. Being able to have an amicable divorce – perhaps even being able to settle it via mediation instead of litigation – can help you both be able to share in their life and all of their milestones moving forward.