There are a lot of conversations about how divorce impacts young children in Tennessee. It’s not often talked about how middle-aged children can suffer if their older parents decide to go through a divorce.
Even though these people might have gone through divorces themselves, it can still be devastating to older children to see their parents split up after a lifetime. It can also make things like estate planning and finances harder to handle.
Why does gray divorce happen?
It can be hard for adult children to understand why their parents are getting divorced so late in life. The fact is that people don’t stop growing just because they’re adults, and older parents might realize they want different things as empty nesters.
Alternatively, they can get divorced for many of the same reasons that anyone would get divorced – infidelity, abuse, and general unhappiness. A lot of how middle-aged children will handle the divorce depends on the reasoning for it, and how their parents act through the divorce.
What are the unique stressors for adult children?
It’s not uncommon for adult children to feel responsible for their parents as they get older. It gets harder for adult children to provide overall support to their parents if they’re separated.
For some, divorce can put a financial strain on adult children – especially if they were already helping out financially. This is all in addition to the grief that adult children go through, knowing that their family dynamic is forever changed.
How to navigate gray divorce
As gray divorce becomes more common, many middle-aged adults might find support within their friend groups. There are also professionals who can help answer the larger, logistical questions that come up with divorces, such as retirement plans and estate planning.
Many families end up turning to therapy as a way to cope. Ultimately, clear communication and good planning are both things that can make the process easier.