Adult children can feel that they are forgotten during their parents’ divorce process. Parents may assume that, since their grown children are on their own, they will not really be affected by the divorce. It is important to remember that even though the children are now adults, they worry about how their parents’ divorce will change the lives of all family members. Worries such as:
- Will their relationship with each parent change?
- Will they be pressured to take sides?
- Will conflict arise between the siblings?
- What happens regarding responsibility to care for aging parents?
- There may be an increased financial burden on the children caring for the parents separately.
- What happens to any inheritance?
- What if the parents enter into new relationships or marriages?
- How will holidays be celebrated?
- Will the family still celebrate together?
- How will separate celebrations be coordinated with each parent?
Allow Your Adult Children Time for the Grieving Process
Adult children need time to process the changes and adjust their expectations. Grieving includes letting go of ideas of what was supposed to be, such as family traditions that might now be very different.
Children may need time to accept that their parents are entitled to make their own decisions. This is true even if the children believe their parents are making wrong decisions.
As divorcing parents, you both need to set boundaries regarding what is appropriate to discuss with the children or for the children to discuss with the parents. It is important not to bad-mouth the other parent to your children or to not over share details that creates division and animosity. Parents must avoid putting their children in a position where the children feel they need to take sides. It may be important to listen to the children’s concerns regarding the divorce and decisions being made but set a boundary on the children’s influence in the divorcing process. It is important to respect the children’s relationship with each parent.
How the Collaborative Divorce Process Helps
The collaborative process assists in clarifying what is important to each parent and working through challenging feelings that allows for agreements to be reached. The adult children will benefit by seeing the parents successfully resolve emotional conflicts and part amicably.
For more information about how to help your adult children deal with your divorce, or to have your questions answered about any aspect of the divorce process, contact us at Central Valley Collaborative Divorce.