There are a lot of informative articles on the web that offer suggestions about how to break the news of your divorce to your kids. But many of these articles imagine this conversation happening with young children. What happens when you are going through a divorce later in your life and your children are now also adults?
Navigating a conversation about divorce with adult children can be difficult. There are a few things to keep in mind as you approach the conversation that can help ease the strain of this potentially tough conversation.
Keeping the conversation healthy
No two conversations are ever going to look alike, so it is hard to make a step-by-step plan about talking to your kid. However, there are some things that you can keep in mind while you prepare the conversation. You can prep yourself by:
- Preparing for your child’s emotions. Divorce can be surprising to children of all ages, but this is especially true for adult children who no longer live with you and your ex. Anticipating that this news may come seemingly out of the blue can help you figure out how you want to frame the news and break it to your children.
- Anticipating questions about the future. Though adult children have their own lives separate from our own, there will undoubtedly be questions for how this will affect them moving forward. What will visiting for holidays look like now? Who is moving where? Are you going to court? If so, what will happen in court? You don’t need to have all of the answers, but knowing that questions may arise will help you prepare.
- Respecting your child’s coping needs. Compared to their younger counterparts, adult children often have a firmer grasp on how they need to cope with difficult news. How people cope with this news is very different from person to person. Some children might need to spend hours talking with you about the situation to gain clarity. Some children might need to walk away from the conversation and come back to it later. Respect what your child says they need and let them process the information the way that they need to.
Conversations about your divorce are not always easy, but with the right mindset and approach, the burden of these conversations can be minimized. Take time to prepare yourself for these conversations so that you can approach them with a calm, empathetic mindset.