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The impact of gray divorce on adult children

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | Divorce, Gray Divorce

When older people choose to divorce, adult children tend to be in the background because they are older, and people assume it is easier for them because of their age. People think that because they are adults, they are unaffected by their parent’s decision to part ways. However, that is not the case.

Studies have shown that a divorce is a traumatic event for adult children, and they need tools to cope with this event, just like younger children do, except tailored to their age and maturity level.

Things you can do to help your adult child cope:

  1. Listen to them. Ask them what they are feeling, acknowledge that their feelings are valid, and reassure them that even though feelings can sometimes seem permanent, they usually pass, and it is a matter of learning to process those feelings when they pop up.
  2. Reassure them in whatever way you can. Adult children of divorce feel the same uncertainty a child feels during their parents’ divorce. Telling them what will and will not happen is helpful, so they are prepared for what is to come.
  3. If possible, maintain a cordial relationship with your soon-to-be former spouse. Civility is essential in all areas of life and can help your adult children see that not everything has changed even though you are divorcing.
  4. Spend time with your adult child. There is no substitute for presence when it comes to parenting children and adults who also need your emotional support. Try your best to manage your own emotions while hopefully being able to support your adult child’s emotions as well.

Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, no matter their age. It is vital to understand this so that parents provide their adult children with the support they need so that they feel that they can get through this.

While the pain and sadness of divorce will be there, there are things that you can do to help your child process their emotions and become stronger from experience.

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