Adult children and parental divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Divorce

Many long-lasting couples who are 50 years of age or older are looking at gray divorce options. Gray divorce is a growing trend with older couples that started around the 1990s. It is often caused by empty nest syndrome, financial difficulties, individual growth, intimacy issues and a desire to fulfill unobtained goals. Gray divorce can be especially liberating for couples. 

Yet, many people do not realize the impact gray divorce has on their families. For adult children of parents who are considering a gray divorce, their parent’s divorce can be particularly upsetting. Many adult children do not know how to handle the sudden changes in their family dynamic. 

Adult children may adopt roles in their parent’s divorce. Some may constantly confront their parents and others may act to please their parents. These roles can often depict how adult children are responding to their parent’s divorce. Here is why adult children take on roles in their parent’s divorce:

Trying to control a divorce

When adult children behave differently after they hear their parents are getting a divorce, they’re usually trying to control what seems like an out-of-control situation in their lives. They may try to “fix” the relationship between their parents because they suddenly feel like they’ve lost their sense of stability and place.

For many adult children, their parent’s marriage had a huge impact on their childhood. If their parents divorce, then adult children may begin to question their parent’s dynamic and their personal memories. Adult children may also fear what their relationship with their parents will mean to them after a divorce. As a result, they may take steps to fix the marriage or avoid conflict. 

Parents have a reason to get a divorce, and it may help to sit down with their adult children and talk about what the divorce means to them. It can also help to reach out for legal guidance when approaching the subject of gray divorce. 



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