However, it is critical to note that divorce does affect children – no matter their age. This includes adult children.
More elder divorce means more adult children of divorceIt is easy for parents and adult children alike to overlook the effect a divorce can have on them. After all, adult children are most likely out of the house, building their own lives and perhaps even caring for families of their own.
Even so, a parent’s divorce can still come as a great shock to adult children. And with the rate of divorce for couples over 50 almost doubling since the 1990s, more adult children than ever are facing the prospect of their parents’ divorce.
The effects of divorce on adult children have not received much study over the years, but The New York Times reported that a parent’s divorce can still be traumatic for adult children, as they often:
- Question their childhood experiences; and
- Must manage complex emotions during the divorce.
One of the primary issues that adult children seem to face is increased involvement in the divorce process.
Parents – do not involve adult children in the divorceWhen children are younger, parents strive to keep them out of the divorce proceedings as much as possible to reduce the effect the divorce could have on their child.
However, as children age, parents and adult children develop a more adult relationship. As one adult child of divorce reports, this often leads parents to treat adult children as a confidante or friend throughout the divorce. In these situations, they tend to share their stress with their adult children, but this places a lot of pressure on adult children as they manage their own emotions during the divorce.
Adult children might not need as much guidance through divorce as young children do, but parents should still ensure they:
- Seek professional help or support, instead of relying on their children;
- Be careful regarding what they share with their children about the divorce; and
- Respect their child’s boundaries.
Even adult children might need time to adjust to the reality of a parents’ divorce, and both parents and children must show each other respect and care during this stressful time for the family.