Divorce happens to people of all ages and it seems that those who are over 50 are reaching an all-time high. Adult children of these couples are being affect and sometimes, they don’t have anywhere to turn. They often find themselves not only unable to process their negative feelings about the divorce, they may even be put in uncomfortable situations. Since the divorce rate of the older population has doubled between 1990 and 2008, it is necessary to be aware of a few tips to surviving if you are an older child, whether you live in Texas, or anywhere in the country.
It will be important to set boundaries with your parents. Younger kids are sheltered from information they don’t need to hear, but adult children are often subjected to discussions about their parents’ sex and dating lives. If you don’t want to hear it, tell them. Another tip is to reject the idea that you are a mediator, friend or therapist. While it is important to be a loving supporter of your parents, it is not a good idea to play therapist and can even be unhealthy to be more than sympathetic.
It is important to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents during and after the divorce. In other words, don’t pick sides. Many adult women are more in tune to taking care of their parents and put their emotional needs in the background. It is best to consult a therapist in this situation. Don’t be afraid to have a relationship with your family members on both sides of the divorce. You get to choose who is in your life and it is a good idea to set boundaries. If you become a relative to someone through the divorce and re-marriage of a parent, it is OK to have that person in your life even if it makes one of your parents unhappy.
Just because your parents got a divorce doesn’t mean you will. Therapy may help if you feel that you may be headed for divorce because of the way your parents’ marriage turned out. On the other hand, if you legitimately feel that your marriage is headed for divorce, you may also want to consider the advocacy of an attorney who can advise you in this situation.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Grieving the grey divorce” Emily Harris, Mar. 18, 2014