What to Do When Your Adult Child Goes Through a Divorce

What to Do When Your Adult Child Goes Through a DivorceAs a parent, it’s only natural to want to protect and advise your children, even if those children are adults with kids of their own. When your adult child goes through something as painful and confusing as a divorce, knowing how to offer support and advice can be instrumental. The complicated legal issues that often accompany a divorce, along with disputes over property division or child custody battles, may not be matters you can help with, but you can show your child your love and support.

To better prepare your child for what is to come, understand what you, as a parent, can do.

1. Offer Support

Many experts have likened the emotional turmoil of a divorce to that of grieving the loss of a loved one. In many ways, the feelings are the same. Parents, be mindful of what your child is going through. Getting a divorce requires letting go of plans, dreams, and goals that were settled on together as a couple; a whole life invested in and created together is now being divided. Emotions will be high, your child may wish to talk and they may not. Be there. Remind them of your love, offer a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.

If the emotional chaos is especially difficult, encourage your child to seek professional help. Remember that you are not a professional, as much as your child may wish to go to you with every problem, you are not unbiased and you are not a psychiatrist. Suggest an expert to help your child cope with the effects of divorce.

It may be difficult for you to emotionally cope with the divorce of your child, especially if you had a close relationship with your child’s soon-to-be ex-spouse. Allow your child’s needs to come first, and do your best to hold your own feelings back for later, or see another friend or family member to discuss your own emotional state.

2. Step Up as a Grandparent

As your child navigates the many complicated aspects of a divorce, even with the help of an attorney, the process can be difficult. Make time for your grandchildren and prioritize their needs. While your child goes through the varying emotions of grief typical of a divorce, some time away from the kids could allow him or her to cope more freely. Offer to babysit, or take your grandchildren out to ice cream when their parents have a court date and talk to them about any confusion or fears they have.

It’s no secret that divorce can severely impact children. Do your best to protect your grandchildren from those affects while still respecting any boundaries set by their parents.

3. Don’t Encourage Estrangement

While it might be difficult to hold in the anger you may feel towards your child’s ex-spouse, or even your child, always encourage communication between the two of them. A divorce that ends peacefully is always best, especially for your grandchildren. Remind your child of the importance of keeping the grandkids emotionally stable and never speak badly about either parent in front of them. Encourage your child to practice the same behavior; never encourage them to badmouth their ex-spouse.

4. Remain Respectful

Respect the boundaries of your child and his or her ex-spouse. Know your limitations and understand when to give each of them space. Remember, when children are involved, the ex-spouse will remain a pillar in your grandchildren’s lives and will have a say in how often you are able to see them. Always keep communication open and cordial to avoid further conflict and turmoil. Remember that you are the grandparent, not the parent, and that your child and his or her ex-spouse have final say in any decisions regarding them, even if you disagree.

Divorce can be financially difficult, and if you ever feel the need or desire to offer financial assistance to your child, do so cautiously and respectfully. Always remember that your child is an adult who should be encouraged to make independent decisions regarding his / her future, financial and otherwise. Offer help, but do not push, and remember to honor your child’s decisions.

For more guidance during divorce, contact McKinley Irvin divorce attorneys for legal advice.
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