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How to make your divorce easier on your adult children

A lot of attention is paid to minor children whose parents are divorcing. There are seemingly countless books, articles and blogs focused on the topic, but what about adult children? True, in many cases, they have lives independent of their parents, meaning they do not rely on mom and dad for shelter and financial security.

But, that does not mean these adult children do not find themselves confused or grieving when their parents divorce (something that is happening more and more). If you are an older adult who is divorcing, it helps to follow many of the same principles recommended for parents of younger children.

Establish your own support network

One of the primary things is to have your own support network you can rely on for emotional and mental support during your divorce and after the process. Try to make it a point to socialize and, if helpful (or necessary), seek counseling. Otherwise, your adult children might feel like you depend on them too much. That can make them feel stuck in the middle and at odds with the parent and child dynamic they are used to.

Avoid bad-mouthing

Older people divorce for many of the same reasons younger people do: growing apart, an addiction, or a mismatch, just to name a few ideas. No matter the reason, it is easier on your children if you do not bad-mouth the other parent. It is okay to say things like, "I really did not expect to get served divorce papers, but your dad is doing what feels right for him. I am going to get through things okay, but it might take time," but not things like, "Your no-good dad sprung divorce papers on me and wants the vacation home! I do not want you to talk to him again."

Respect your children's choices

Your children are their own people, and in many cases, have families of their own. They may have some difficult decisions facing them in the years ahead: whether to spend a vacation with you or with your ex, for example, or how holiday visits will work in the future. Respect their choices, and find healthy outlets for your hurt feelings.

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