If you are getting a divorce late in life, you might assume your grown children will not mind. However, studies show this action has a big effect on them, so it's not just the feelings of younger children you should be sensitive to. Of course, their hurt feelings should not stop you from doing what you need to, but there are ways to lessen the pain for your older kids.
Allow Them to Express Their Feelings
You may be surprised by their reaction to the news, but remember that they likely did not see it coming. Many kids' parents divorce, but once those kids are adults, they likely think they escaped the possibility of their parents splitting up. They might not be able to fathom a long marriage ending after decades, and even if they knew you were not happy, they might have been in denial for years.
You can't stop your adult children from feeling these emotions, but you can be prepared to listen. They may feel shocked, depressed, and even angry. This might change their notion of relationships, but they will eventually get over it. You just need to be there to listen.
You also need to be there to reassure your children the divorce has nothing to do with them. Their immediate reaction might be that you stayed together with your spouse just for the kids, meaning you were miserable that whole time. This may not be true, but even if it is, do not let your children feel responsible for that decision. Just as you would do with younger kids, make sure your adult children know you and their other parent still love them. You should also let them know you can still have the same good relationship you did before, even if it takes a while to get back to normal.
Avoid Leaning Too Heavily on Your Kids for Support
If you have a good relationship with your children, it can be tempting to turn to them for support. After all, they might even be divorced themselves. However, this can be uncomfortable for them. They do not want to hear how much you dislike their other parent, or what you were thinking all those years you were stuck with your spouse. You can talk to your friends about these issues if you need to get them out, or you can talk to a counselor for help.
Of course, you should also be talking to a divorce lawyer during this time. No matter what age you or your children are, you need a legal professional to guide you through this process. That's where Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. comes in. We have decades of experience helping local residents through divorce at any age, so we invite you to call our office today to discuss your case.