When young children see their parents divorce, it can be devastating. But when a child turns 18, that feeling doesn’t go away. It can still be a bitter pill to swallow, even when a child is away at college, married, or even has children of their own.
The truth is that your parents’ divorce can be hard to handle, whether you’re 5 or 50 years old. And with gray divorce—divorce that happens to couples over age 50—on the rise, more and more young adults are seeing their childhood and family structures ripped apart.
Many adult children of divorce are shaken by the news that their parents are divorcing. Not only do they have to deal with their own emotional trauma, but in many cases, they are also tasked with having to help their parents through the effects of divorce.
This is not an easy task. Adult children are automatically expected to be OK with it. They should just get over it. They should just adapt, since they are so busy making their own lives.
But it’s not easy. Adult children have always seen their mother and father as a parental unit, so when they divorce, they suddenly become singular units. This is a hard situation for adult children to face. They are stuck in a bad situation. They want to avoid hurting their parents’ feelings. They don’t want to add drama to their parents’ situations, so they stifle their feelings and suffer in silence. They feel isolated and become the invisible children of gray divorce.
Parents who are divorcing need to understand that everyone involved will experience losses—even the older adult children. Adult children will experience the loss of identity as well as the loss of their nuclear family, which might make them question their childhood. There is also the loss of togetherness and family memories to consider.
A divorce can change the future trajectory of the family, since the parents will never be together again. What about weddings, future grandchildren, birthdays, and other events? How will your family navigate these situations after a divorce?
If the parents were also grandparents, then it will be even more devastating because now the adult children have to explain the situation to their own children. This can affect them as well, especially if they were close to both grandparents.
Divorce does not necessarily get better as children get older. Expect it to be a grieving process for all involved, regardless of age.
Divorce is hard for children of all ages. Just because a child becomes an adult does not mean things are easier. It can still be an emotional experience.
A Columbia divorce lawyer from The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you with the legal and emotional challenges you will face in your divorce. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation.
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Columbia, MD 21044