When Your Children Are Going Through Divorce
As the Chicago Tribune highlighted on February 12th, there are plenty of how-to books focused on how to go through a divorce yourself, but not much out there on what to do when your grown kids are going through divorce; even if it does–ultimately–affect you. For example, when grown kids are going through a divorce, they often need a place to stay, as well as your physical and emotional support. In the midst of this dilemma, some experts suggest some very specific “dos” and “don’ts.”
Routines & Strength
For example, it’s important to realize that your child has other people in their life with whom they have probably shared the news. Thus, instead of focusing on being consoling—or bad-mouthing their ex, announcing to other friends and family details of the divorce, etc.–it can often be more helpful to simply make sure that you are strong on behalf of your child. You can help do so by ensuring that all rituals and routines continue as before (such as family dinners), especially if and where grandchildren are involved.
At the same time, be ready to “be there” when you are needed by your child; for example, if they need help adjusting to being a single parent for their kids, at times, and may need you to pitch in. This is especially the case if you are a primary caregiver for any of the grandchildren and/or if they do not have another set of grandparents.
You can also simply be helpful in helping your child to move on. Often times, simply asking how you can be of help is the best way to go.
You Will Grieve As Well
According to the experts, there is no one rule or policy when it comes to maintaining a relationship with the ex; it really depends on how your child feels about a potential continuing relationship between you and the ex, as well as whether there are grandkids involved. Sometimes it is appropriate to approach your child about continuing to stay friends with the ex, and sometimes completely “divorcing” yourself from the ex is more appropriate. Remember, it’s not just your child who’s losing someone—you are losing the ex as well—and thus may go through similar stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Experts also warn that you may want to prepare yourself for your child’s worst side to come out during this time; even sides that take you back to the teenage years. Do not take offense if you are not welcome or invited at any related proceedings, such as mediation.
Be Careful About Money
The experts also warn about providing your child with unlimited funds during this time. If your child needs financial assistance, make sure that you set up some kind of repayment schedule and/or contract to govern the assistance as a kind of loan.
Many people contact us every day asking how they can make sure–after the divorce–that they have a right to see their grandchildren. For more information about this topic, visit other areas of our website.
Contact Us for Advice
If you or a loved one is facing divorce, contact our office to see how we can help. At the office of Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale, we understand the many legal and emotional issues involved during the divorce process, and are committed to ensuring that everything goes as smoothly as possible for your family.