Advice about how to tell your young children about your divorce is plentiful but there’s less information on handling your adult children. Perhaps that’s because we think they’re grown up and better able to cope, better able to understand. The reality however is that they still need support:
There were times when I wasn’t as supportive of my kids as I should have been. I was more self-absorbed and thinking about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. I probably wasn’t as sensitive to some of what my kids were going through as I could have been.~ Lois Tarter
Lois and her husband had been married for twenty-five years at the time of their divorce. Her eldest was in college and her youngest was finishing high school. Having the divorce conversation wasn’t easy.
There’s a tendency for people to think that divorce with adult children is somehow easier. It’s not. It can be harder and it can be more complex. Adult children can be much more aware of the issues in the marriage that lead to divorce and I think it’s easier for them to get caught up in the turmoil, associating more with one parent than the other. If the children are living away from home, then it’s harder for both parents to renegotiate their relationships with their children.
I’ve learned that you never say, “At least your children are older.”
It’s not harder. It’s not easier. It’s different.