Gray divorce, where spouses over the age of 50 end their marriages, is becoming more common. In fact, the number of gray divorces in the U.S. has doubled in the last 30 years. Still, if you and your spouse have adult children, the end of your marriage may be hard for them to handle.
Helping your adult kids cope with your gray divorce is beneficial for everyone in your family. Doing so effectively may depend on implementing the following three strategies.
1. Do not ask the kids to choose sides
Your divorce may not exactly comport with your children’s view of a happy future. Still, to keep your kids from developing anger or animosity toward either you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you should not ask them to choose sides. Instead, you probably want to reassure your adult children that both you and your husband or wife will continue to be part of their lives.
2. Minimize conflict with your spouse
Even if you and your spouse do not agree about everything, your divorce does not have to be an all-out battle. When you minimize conflict, you reduce the chances your children may think you are treating your husband or wife poorly. Looking for alternatives to traditional divorce, such as divorce mediation, may also be helpful.
3. Recognize your children’s feelings
Your kids may have their own families and careers. Still, when you announce your divorce plans, your children may feel vulnerable to abandonment. While you cannot change your parent-child relationship, you certainly can recognize and respect your children’s feelings.
Ultimately, letting your adult kids express how they feel gives you the opportunity to put their concerns to rest. At a minimum, letting your kids talk about their emotions may be the first step in accepting your gray divorce.