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Helping Your Children Through Your Grey Divorce

Helping Your Children Through Your Grey Divorce

Navigating a grey divorce can be a challenging journey for the entire family. In this focused guide, we’ll explore practical strategies to help your children adapt and thrive during this significant life transition. By understanding their needs and emotions, you can provide the essential support they require during this time. Let’s delve into effective ways to maintain a nurturing environment for your children, ensuring they feel secure and understood.

Grey Divorces: An Overview

A relatively recent phenomenon that we have seen occur in the United States is the rise of what is known as “Grey Divorces.” These are divorces between parties nearing retirement age or are at least over the age of fifty. In previous generations, if you were a member of this age group, it was unlikely that you would file for divorce.

We don’t have the time or space to get into a sociological discussion on why Grey Divorces didn’t occur as frequently in the past. However, we can safely say that they were uncommon in years past and are increasingly common in today’s world.

Whenever we see a trend in any area of life, there will always be consequences. These can be positive or negative consequences, but since we are talking about a divorce, the majority will be negative from my experience. That’s not to say that divorce can’t protect a person from their spouse’s violent behavior or things of that nature.

Still, for the most part, a divorce means that two otherwise decent people are breaking up the familial unit that has bound them together for years. Seeing as how we’re discussing divorces for peopled aged 50-plus, it is probable that yours is a marriage that lasted for 20-plus years until the time you or your spouse filed for divorce from the other.

Helping Children in Grey Divorces

Writers have extensively covered the topic of helping children navigate their parents’ divorce, primarily focusing on younger children. However, discussions about assisting children in coping with the effects of a Grey divorce remain scarce. Older children and adults face similar challenges as younger ones, with mixed loyalties being a significant concern.

The fact is that your children will experience their problems associated with establishing boundaries and figuring out how to be loyal to both you and your ex-spouse after divorce. Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will detail some information on this subject to provide some much-needed advice to families like yours. The relevance of this guidance extends to children who are adults with their own families, especially depending on the attitudes and personalities of you and your ex-spouse.

Sticky and Tricky Situations for the Adult Children of Divorced Parents

Younger children depend on their parents for life’s essentials, including emotional support, which is often undervalued. The lack of emotional nurturing can significantly impact a child’s development. This holds true even when children reach adulthood; they still need parental emotional support, as it’s a lifelong commitment.

Continued Parental Responsibilities

Legal obligations towards children may cease in adulthood, but the parental role doesn’t. The duty to offer guidance and emotional support persists. As an adult with my own children, I still turn to my mother for advice and comfort, illustrating how parental responsibilities evolve rather than end.

Navigating Complex Conversations

In grey divorces, adult children are more exposed to the intricate details of the separation. Unlike with minor children, there’s no legal restraint on discussing divorce issues with adult offspring. However, sharing details about relationships or the reasons for divorce can place adult children in awkward positions, challenging their ability to navigate these sensitive topics.

Acknowledging Unique Challenges

While adult children might seem better equipped to handle their parents’ divorce, they face their own set of challenges. Recognizing and addressing these issues is crucial for their well-being.

In the remainder of this article, we’ll share insightful tips on helping your adult children cope with the complexities of a grey divorce, ensuring they receive the support and understanding they need during this transitional phase.

Please Do Not Put Your Child in a Position Where They Must Mediate Other Disputes.

Helping Your Children Through Your Grey Divorce

Whether your divorce has been finalized or is ongoing, you should not expect your child to be able to play mediator for you and your ex-spouse. It is normal to want to lean on your child during this time but remember that their loyalties are not to either you or your ex-spouse. Allow your child to deal with your divorce in their way.

Speak to them honestly but do not ask them to pick a side or settle a dispute. Just because your children know you and your ex-spouse doesn’t mean they are an appropriate person to come to with relationship/divorce issues.

Allow Your Child to Speak Their Truth to You

If your child wants to come to you with their thoughts and feelings on your divorce, you should let them- to a point. As a parent, you know the boundaries you have set with your child, and it is unlikely that your child will come to you to discuss your divorce unless they are already comfortable with you. So, in a way, if your child even brings up this subject, it’s likely that you’ve done a great job of parenting because your child wants to talk to you about an important issue like this.

However, there is a fine line between allowing your child to speak their truth to you (which will likely not be that pleasant to hear) and allowing your child to cross a line and criticize you or your ex-spouse to an intolerable degree. Treat this situation like you would on any other topic with any other person.

Your child has the right to their feelings, regardless of their impact on you. However, they do not have the right to exacerbate your feelings on a particular subject.Listen patiently but do not allow your child to cross a line with you. Speaking of crossing lines…

Boundaries Need to Be Created That Are Healthy for You and Your Child

Following up with what we were discussing, your child needs to understand that even though the topics that are a part of your divorce may seem like topics that they are free to comment on with zero discretion, that cannot be the case.

If you want to have a healthy relationship with your child, you need to help your child realize that while you can discuss some things related to the divorce, other issues are sensitive, and at the end of the day, your child is your child, and you are their parent. If your child is upset and inappropriate, tell them as much in a respectful manner.

On the other hand, you cannot expect your child to hold back their opinions if you tell your child every minute detail about your divorce. There is some information about your marital relationship your child doesn’t need to know and honestly does not want to know.

Be careful about what you share. Be willing to discuss your life and the feelings associated with divorce but draw a line between name-calling, sensitive details on your sex life, and other aspects of divorce that can be inappropriate and uncomfortable to discuss.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan

Helping Your Children Through Your Grey Divorce

We still have more information and advice to share with you all about Grey divorces. In the meantime, if you have any questions about family law in Texas, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations with a licensed family law attorney. These consultations occur six days a week and can go a long way towards answering tricky questions and generally putting you at ease before engaging in a family law case.

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