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Helping adult children cope with your divorce

Posted on in Divorce

When parents decide to end their marriage, most of our thoughts automatically go to the impact on a divorcing couple's young children. But many Texas parents split up later in life, some after several years or even decades of being together.

If you are age 50 or older and have gone through or are considering a so-called “gray divorce,” you should be aware of its impact on your adult kids. Many older children report feeling intense pain and a host of distressing emotions when their parents decide to call it quits.

Don’t overlook the signs

As a parent, you only want what's best for your children. But if they’re over 21 and out of the house, you might think they are old enough to roll with the punches. After all, they may have already graduated from college and started their own family. Or they might be pursuing a college degree or have started their career.

But psychologists say a family crisis can hit adult children just as hard or harder than younger kids. For the first time in their lives, they can see the family unit as being broken. Often, they keep these feelings to themselves to avoid hurting their parents’ feelings.

Many believe that voicing these thoughts will only worsen the situation, so they adopt a “suck it up” mentality. The problem is that pent-up anger and resentment can potentially damage their personal dynamics with you and your ex as well as with their own spouse and kids.

Co-Parenting doesn’t end when a child turns 21

Even if a divorce was the best solution for you and your ex-spouse, you likely feel some sense of loss. It will take some time for you to heal, but the grieving process is different for your children. They are hit with the realization that the world around them will never be the same. Things like holidays, graduations, weddings, births and family traditions will be much different from now on.

One way to help them is to understand that they will react to your divorce in their own way and that it may take them a while longer to accept the new world order. Better yet, tell them that you understand and respect their feelings. Avoid judging their reactions just as you want them to refrain from judging your actions over the divorce.

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