The biggest concerns when couples decide to divorce are the kids. They will suddenly face a different situation and this is not what they are used to. If they are not treated well during this stage, they could grow up with resentment. According to studies, there is a higher tendency for children of divorcees to have behavioral issues even if they were too young when the divorce took place.
The endless screams and fighting at home might have a negative effect on these kids and they become even more confused the moment they start experiencing a totally different family set-up. They don’t deserve to be in this kind of environment, but you also don’t want to stay in a relationship that no longer makes you happy.
It is perfectly right to think about the small children and their well-being. However, even adult kids in a divorce should also be given attention. They are old enough to understand the situation. This makes parents feel more complacent that they no longer need explanation. They can absorb what is happening and just accept the changes. This is totally untrue. Even if they were already old enough at the time of the divorce, they still need attention. You just could not assume that they are fine and they will immediately accept the situation. Here are some tips to help you deal with the adult kids at home and spare them from the drama.
Allow them to feel bad
There might come a point when these kids would suddenly have behavioral changes, like focusing less on their studies, talking back to you, and even withdrawing from the society. They might not tell you directly that it is because of the divorce, but you already know that they are having a hard time. If this happens, don’t just scold them and scream at them. For sure, this is their way of showing how bad they feel about what is going on. Let them express themselves in the way they are most comfortable, but also take some time to speak with them once they have calmed down.
Explain your decision in a more mature way
At this point, they already know what is happening. They know what divorce means and they can see what is going to happen in the future. However, they might still have no idea why you just could not patch things up and why things have to end this way. Therefore, a more serious conversation is necessary. Let them know why you are leaving your spouse and why the family dynamics have to change. Don’t try to make things look lighter just to make them feel better. Tell things as they are. Both of you should speak to your child so it won’t seem like you are just embellishing the story to make your former partner look bad.
Don’t make them choose
When speaking to them, it should be coming from the two of you. Yes, you need someone to rant to and express your frustrations, but this person is not your adult child. You don’t want to put them in the middle. They will just get even more confused. For sure, both of you are loved equally and for them to make this hard choice would be devastating. Let them know the arrangement later once you have finally finished the settlement talks.
Let them know you will stay as responsible parents
Even if you will no longer have a normal family setup just like you used to, it should not affect how things should be. You will still attend school events together. You will still have family holidays. You will still be parents to them. For sure, they need assurance from you. Most of all, let them know that you can attend family gatherings without any fight even if you are no longer a couple. You can scream as long as you want during the settlement process and conflict resolution, but don’t drag it in public.
Don’t tell them to be more responsible
This is one thing most parents do wrong. They tell their adult kids to be responsible for their younger siblings. In a way, being in a divorced family already pushes them to be more mature. You don’t have to add on to that pressure. It is never their responsibility to take care of the minors at home especially if they are too young to even be responsible for themselves. After all, this is still your job. If they volunteer to help out, be grateful. Just remove pressure from the picture.
Establish lines of communication
Now that you are getting divorced, one might move out of the house and live elsewhere. Give an assurance that there will still be communication channels even if you are far apart. You should also be specific with how you can continue to communicate. Be honest in telling them that changes are inevitable, but you will try your hardest so that they won’t feel the heaviness of these changes.
Set a good example
Even if you are already getting a divorce, your kids will still look up to you for guidance. You were the role models they have had growing up. Therefore, you still need to be responsible for your actions. Avoid fighting especially if you have already brought your case to the courts. You should also be more careful if you finally decide to enter a new relationship. Show to them that even if you are already divorced, you can still be good friends and parents to them. You must make them feel that there won’t be changes in your relationship to them as parents.
Yes, it is stressful to go through a divorce. It is even more stressful for children who are already old enough to understand what is going on and already have an idea on what could happen next now that you have decided to live separately. You should get an expert lawyer in family law to help you deal with the process. You should settle this divorce as soon as you can. Make sure that this does not drag on too long. You should put an end to this relationship and immediately get back to being loving parents to your kids. They need you more now.
Leonard Riskin describes his earlier struggle with holding back what he believed to be the answer in a conflict and letting the parties come up with their own creative solution....By Leonard Riskin