As divorce has become more common among couples in their 50s and older, many people are finding themselves becoming “children of divorce” as adults. Many divorcing parents believe that their split will have little effect on their kids, who have lives and maybe children of their own. They may have even put off divorce until they were empty nesters.
However, those who have lived through a parental divorce as an adult regularly speaks about the sense of loss and grief they feel. Some start to question their identity, developed in no small part through their family. They look back on what were fond memories and wonder if it was a sham.
Certainly, unhappy couples shouldn’t stay together “for the sake of the children” – no matter how old they are. However, you can make things easier on them. It helps to follow some of the same advice given to divorcing parents of young kids.
Some things divorcing parents should remember – no matter the age of their kids
Understand that this may be difficult for your child and that they may have to go through a grieving process. To make things easier:
- Both parents should let their kids know that they’ll always be there for them.
- Try to remain amicable – at least for your children. They shouldn’t be afraid to invite you both to their wedding, their child’s birthday party or another family event for fear that a fight will break out.
- Don’t encourage them to take sides. Adult children may have strong feelings about which parent is to blame, and they may or may not be right. Everyone wants to be the favorite parent, but it’s not good for your child to ask them to “side” with you or encourage their anger at their other parent.
- Don’t overshare. It may be easier to tell an adult child that their father is a womanizer or their mother is no longer interested in sex than it would be to tell a child. Save that for your therapist or your friends.
If you can keep your divorce amicable, you’ll likely make things easier on everyone – including your children. By working toward a fair settlement, you can both move on more easily to the next chapter of your lives.