It can be devastating to hear that your grown child has divorced. Many parents want the best for their children, no matter how old they are, so it can be a shock to hear that they are ending their marriage, whether they just got married last year or 20 years ago.
You may be upset about the situation, especially if you liked your child’s spouse. You may worry about how things will change after the divorce. You may be concerned that you will not get to see the grandkids as much.
Or maybe you are feeling the exact opposite. You saw this divorce coming a long time ago and you are relieved. Maybe you are happy that your child is getting rid of the bossy wife or the worthless husband.
Naturally, parents may want to get involved. They may blame their child’s spouse. They may worry about the grandchildren. They may want to pay their child’s legal expenses in order to get the best legal help possible and seek revenge on the other spouse.
As a parent, you probably have good intentions. But at the same time, you have no control over the situation. You are not the one getting divorced, so there is not much you can do. You want to help, but you also do not want to interfere and make things worse.
What can you do as the mother or father of an adult child going through a divorce? Should you support their decision? Should you move your child and grandchildren into your home and financially support them? Or should you ignore the situation and let things happen on their own, without you meddling?
You are likely going through various emotions, just as your child is as they navigate the divorce process. They are no doubt stressed out. Divorcing is not an easy decision to make, but sometimes it is necessary. Things will change. Family gatherings may not be better or worse, but they will be different.
Handling Your Child’s Divorce
Need help handling your grown child’s divorce? Here are some tips to follow:
- Be supportive. If your child wants to talk to you about the divorce, let him or her do so without judgment. You do not know all the details behind the cause of the split, so be supportive. Be loyal to your child and let them know you are there for them.
- Do not blame. Avoid taking sides. While you may naturally feel that the other party is to blame, it takes two to get married and two to get divorced. As much as you may not want to admit it, your child has some part in the demise of the marriage.
- Avoid name-calling. Do not badmouth your child’s ex-spouse. Even if you never liked him or her, keep your opinions to yourself. Stay neutral, especially if grandchildren are involved. Remember that your child was attracted to their spouse at some point, and that person is the parent of your grandchildren, whether you like it or not.
- Be loyal to your child. You may still love your child’s spouse and want to continue a relationship. That might not be a good idea for now, as it could strain your relationship. Your loyalty should go to your child first and foremost, especially if they did not want the divorce.
- Do not try to fix the problem. A divorce is rarely an impulsive decision, so if your child and their spouse have decided to divorce, then their mind is made up. You should not try to convince them otherwise. You can ask how you can help, but do not expect that your child and spouse will kiss and make up.
- Be careful about offering money. If you do give your child money to help with the divorce expenses, be clear about your expectations. Is it a gift or a loan? Do you expect repayment? What should the money be used for? While it’s good to help your child, you don’t want to create a situation where your child becomes too dependent on you.
- Visit your grandchildren often. If you have grandchildren involved, be sure to stay in contact with them. They will enjoy your presence, which will bring some stability to their turbulent lives. If you cannot be around them physically, stay in touch with texts, emails and video chats. Continue to do things they enjoy and allow them to discuss their feelings with you.
- Do not give unsolicited advice. If your child asks for your advice, you can steer them in the right direction. However, it is probably best if they seek professional advice. Divorce is a legal and emotional process. Let lawyers and therapists help your child.
- Do not keep bringing it up. Be careful of what you say, because your words can be hurtful. Do not keep showing your disappointment every chance you get. While you may not be happy with your child’s decision to divorce, you need to let it go eventually. Sometimes life does not go the way you expect. Move on and allow your child to find the right person for them.
Seek Legal Help
You should not take sides in your child’s divorce. However, you should try to help them as much as possible. Ensure they get the best legal help available so that they can get the best outcome.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help your child with their divorce. We can also offer advice for grandparents who may have concerns about the children involved. Schedule a consultation today. Call our office at (954) 346-6464.