Adult offspring are sometimes an overlooked group when it comes to divorce. Support is given to youngsters with more people looking out for them, such as teachers and coaches.
Although adult offspring may have encouraged unhappy parents to split – it is not okay to utilize them as sounding boards or guidance counsellors.
Parents can fall into the trap of using their grown up kids as a confidant.
Thirty years post-divorce, my friend’s father felt the need to spill the ugly details of the reason behind their divorce. Lena vaguely remembered something about her mum had an affair. Hearing the lurid tales about it was quite upsetting, with her dad stating that he was only telling her this “To set the record straight.”
These big kids are not to be privy to divorce details even years later, when in their fifties.
Although they are adults, these individuals are still dealing with divorce issues. These sons and daughters may be losing their family home which is jarring even when living many kilometres away. This means sorting through their childhood memorabilia in the midst of angry parents divvying up personal assets.
They need some space away from both parents. Having distance is helpful in processing their mixed emotions, especially if the divorce news was a jolt out of the blue.
An adult son or daughter may appear to have it altogether, but can be hurt little kids inside. Do not assume they are alright – ask if they are okay.
They may be afraid to burden you with their unresolved issues, so encourage them to express their feelings to friends. Having a talk with their godparent or older family friend can be therapeutic. If they are floundering, a divorce coach can help them deal with the divorce situation.
Just as with young ones, do not criticize their other parent, or make it seem as if they have to choose sides. Do not ask them to deliver messages or put them on the spot with questions about the other parent.
If you are divorcing their step-parent do not put them down. Your child has their own separate relationship with a step-parent and may desire continuing it after the divorce. They do not want to shut the door to it, by becoming your cheering squad during your divorce.
I know of a few biological parents who tried to coerce their adult offspring to end step-parent relationships by insinuating it was a matter of loyalty. That does not work.
Your adult offspring may have their own youngsters who are trying to come to terms with the divorce. Reassure your grandchildren that they are not losing grandparents, but will see you separately. You will still have fun times. Think about continuing the rituals that they enjoy doing with you.
It may be baking holiday goodies or puttering around in the garden. Some newly divorced grandparents encouraged the parents to take some holidays away together while they stayed and babysat. Their single status gave them more flexibility in taking care of grandchildren. Others take a grandchild on a short jaunt (with written parental permission).
It will take a load off your son or daughter’s mind if they realize their parents are coping well after a late in life divorce.
Let them know about the fun times you are having and the fascinating people you are meeting. Then they do not feel that they have to be your source of entertainment.
Moving on and showing others that you are enjoying your new life is a gift to your children. They have enough on their plate without constantly worrying about how you are doing post-divorce.
Reassure your adult offspring that you are fine. Think about having an adventure such as ticking a destination off your Bucket List.
About Wendi Schuller
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certied in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 100 published articles.