For divorcing couples with older teenage or adult children, it can be easy to assume that their separation will not have much of an impact. After all, since the days of parenting are long gone or are soon to be so, many parents tend to lose sight of the emotional toll their divorce will have on their older children. The truth is, whether your children are 13 or 30 when you divorce, the tumultuous change is sure to be a difficult pill to swallow. While your older children will be able to rationally and logically process what is going on and understand the complexities of your decision, it is still important that you communicate several key messages and take certain steps to help them cope with the change.
- Be patient and prepared: One of the most important steps is to acknowledge that your children will likely be hurting and be prepared for their response. Give them space, know that they are disappointed, but do not try to fix it. Allow them to cope with the transition as they see fit, and be there for them when they eventually reach out.
- Do not share everything: While your children may be older, keep in mind that they are still your children and that there are some things they may not want or need to hear. Be mindful of both your and their boundaries when speaking to your children about your divorce and avoid revealing certain information which would be best left confidential – especially if it would stir up emotions which could lead to further heartache.
- Avoid bashing their other parent: While you may be angry at your spouse, remember that your children have likely had a positive relationship with them for most of their lives. Respect this relationship by refraining from speaking poorly of the other parent. Remember, it is you who is starting a new life without your spouse – not your children.
- Do not rely on them for support: The turmoil of divorce oftentimes causes adults to instinctively turn to those closest to them for support and advice, including their children. While your children may know you better than anyone and will want only the best for you, remember that they are trying to cope with the divorce themselves. Instead, seek professional, objective counsel and continue to be their parent. Reassure them that you are alright, that you are getting help, and that both of you will get through this time.
At Patton & Pittman Attorneys, our Clarksville divorce lawyers have been helping couples and their families get through the complexities of divorce for more than 75 years combined and can provide the steadfast guidance you need to help you push forward as smoothly as possible. To learn more about what our AV Preeminent® rated team of advocates can do for you, call (931) 361-4477 or fill out an online form today to set up your free consultation.