Professional Counselor Katie Saint wrote an article earlier this year about how to rebuild relationships with adult children post-divorce.
According to the AARP, divorce for people over the age of 50 has nearly doubled since the 1990’s. Adult children take the news harder than one might think. Many of them question how their parents’ relationship could be ending after “this many years of marriage.” Adult children even might start to question their childhood memories and struggle with guilt.
Saint gives a few tips for maintaining and rebuilding relationships with adult children after a divorce:
Try to understand their feelings: This can be tough because you’re going through a difficult time yourself. Understanding that it’s also a hard time for your children can make it easier to respond to them in a positive way. They may be angry, depressed, feel guilty, or they may even try to fix your relationship. Try not to rush them through their grieving process.
Try to respect their boundaries: Parents often heavily depend on adult children after divorce. They are probably also struggling with your divorce, and they might not be able to help you through it… so don’t depend on it.
Don’t talk poorly about your ex: They might be adults, but it’s still not a good idea. Talking poorly about your ex could lead to your child taking sides or hurting his/her relationship with one or both parents. It’s not in the interest of anyone.
Reestablish that your love for them hasn’t changed: Show your adult children through your actions that, while you’re not still married, you still love them just the same. Try not to change your relationship drastically and establish that things haven’t changed between you and your children, even though you’re not married any longer.
The first year after divorce can definitely be a challenging time for you and your adult children. But keep showing them how much you still love them, and it will get easier.