Gray Divorces: 5 Things Adult Children of Divorce Should Know
Divorce may be less common for younger adults these days, but when it comes to U.S. adults aged 50 and over, the opposite seems to be true. According to the Pew Research Center, the “gray divorce” rate—or the divorce rate for “gray-haired” adults over 50—has roughly doubled since the year 1990. If your parents are in the process of splitting up, you’ll face a different set of challenges as an adult child of divorce. Keep the following advice in mind for a smoother transition.
1) Your feelings still matter. Your parents may have the expectation that, as an adult, you will be better equipped to cope with their divorce. That doesn’t mean the process will be easy for you. Remember to deal with your emotions as they come up, rather than pushing them aside for the sake of your parents. You should be able to express your feelings in a calm and civil way.
2) You can also find support. It’s important for you to be there for your parents when they need your support, but what happens when you need a shoulder to cry on? Don’t forget to use your own support network while you’re going through this difficult time. Take some time to chat about your experiences with a friend, a partner, or a therapist to make sure your own emotional needs are met.
3) You don’t need to take sides. Every now and then, you may unwittingly find yourself in the middle of a conflict that should stay between your parents. Resist the pressure to act as your parents’ mediator. Remind them that while you’re sympathetic and supportive of both of them, you would prefer to stay out of their personal arguments.
4) You can still have family time. It can be hard to imagine what birthdays, Christmas, and other family events will look like post-divorce. Instead of clinging to old traditions, you may want to get creative by hosting smaller, more intimate (and ultimately less stressful) get-togethers with a reconfigured guest list. Remember that if you’re craving family time, you can also take the initiative to visit your siblings, parents, and extended family on your own time.
5) You are capable of loving, healthy relationships. Sometimes children of gray divorce see themselves as doomed to repeat the mistakes of their parents. If that sounds like you, a little attitude adjustment can go a long way. You are capable of learning from the past as much as you are capable of having a healthy, loving, and long-lasting relationship of your own.
If you’re looking for more ways to support your parents, one of the best things you can do is recommend them to an exceptional family attorney. At Freed Marcroft, we believe in helping our clients resolve divorce issues amicably through methods like mediation and collaborative divorce. Of course, if you’re in need of litigation, we also have extensive trial experience. Give us a call to speak with a team who will truly get to know your family and make recommendations based on their individual needs.