Talking to Your Adult Children About Your Divorce
When parents divorce, they may no longer share a home or finances, but they will always have a mutual connection with their children. This bond does not end when children become adults and even become parents themselves. Although your kids may have grown up, talking to them about your decision to divorce can be difficult.
If Possible, Talk to them as a Group
Although it may feel that your divorce is only about you and your spouse, this is something which impacts the entire family. If you can, it would be best to get everyone together to talk about what is going to happen. If you have more than one child try to tell them at the same time so they can support one another. If your child does not have a sibling, you could talk to them with their partner or a close friend. If everyone cannot be in the same room, consider using a video conferencing call to speak with the whole family.
Be Sensitive When Explaining
Some couples stay together until their children are grown and out of the house until finally pushing through with a collaborative divorce or traditional divorce. While you and your former partner may have remained together for the sake of your children, this may not be information you want to share with them. For your kids, the divorce can cause them to question their concept of their family. Learning that you continued in an unhappy relationship for their benefit may encourage feelings of guilt and uncertainty about the life you have shared together.
Don’t Put Them in the Middle
When your child becomes an adult, your relationship can grow closer as you can now relate to one another on a more equal level. While you may have become used to confiding in and leaning on your adult child, you should not talk to them about the details of your divorce. Doing so could make your child feel like they have to take your side against their other parent. Although your son or daughter is now grown up, finding out that you and their other parent are divorcing can be devastating. Your children are dealing with their own emotions and placing them in the middle of the conflict will only make things worse for them. It would be best if you relied on your close friends for support, not your children.
Talk About Future Changes
No longer being married may mean no longer attending family events together. However, there will probably be times when you and your ex are going to be in the same place as your children. You could talk to your kids about how you intend to handle future occasions such as holidays or birthdays and assure them that you are committed to being cordial when you see them together. This is also a good time to discuss any future financial changes such as selling or dividing family-owned property and assets or commitments to paying for college.
While the experience may be different for adults than minors, divorce is never easy for children at any age. We have expertise in helping clients consider the implications of their divorce. Call us today to set up a consultation so we can take a “first look” at your situation and talk about your family’s needs.
To learn more about Wisconsin divorce law, contact Karyn Youso, the family law attorney and mediator with over 27 years of experience.