Most couples file for divorce when they can no longer stand living together but some stuck it out until their children are grown up because they believe that their children can bear the shock of divorce in their adult years. However, contrary to belief, adult children of divorce (Acod) are just as affected.
In fact, the divorce may cause more damage to adult children because they tend to question their childhood memories and everything that their love was built upon.
How can splitting parents of adult children help them cope with divorce?
There are many ways that spitting parents can help; let’s look at 5 common ways that will help children feel better.
1) Do not tell your children that you stuck together as a couple because of them
That is possibly, the most damaging statement you can say. While your children may have become adults, but they are still vulnerable to your impending divorce. They are likely to question their childhood memories, and question if the closeness of the family is only a sham put up for their sake. In addition, they will feel guilty that they are the reason why you have not split up before and find someone else who can make you happier. Therefore, be cautious about what you say to them when you announce the divorce to your adult children. The right words and emotions can help them cope better and cushion the shock.
2) Do not demand your children to take sides
It is tempting to ask your children to support your cause because they are grown up and able to understand the reason why you are splitting up. However, asking your children to take sides is unfair to them. The reason for your divorce is between you and your spouse; asking the children to side one or the other parent tears away the security that they have derived from your marriage. Besides, your children love both of you. There is no reason for you to demand that they take your side against their dad or mum during the divorce proceedings in Singapore and even after it is finalised.
3) Do not expect your children to become the confidant
Yes, as adult children, they are the perfect confidants because they know the family intimately. However, do spare a thought for your children and seek alternative confidants in your friends and relatives. Imagine for a moment how your children will feel when you, their mum, confided that their dad has been womanising since both of them were born. This kind of revelations crashes the world as they know it, and completely erases any happy memories that they may have of their childhood. It might also prompt them to take sides, which then negatively affect their relationship with your soon to be ex-spouse.
4) Do encourage your children to seek support if needed
Adult children need as much support, or perhaps more support as compared to young children of divorce. Younger children may not have the emotional intelligence to work out why the marriage failed, but as adult, they can easily work it out and understand why the marriage failed, especially if there is a third party. When that happens, adult children struggle to come to terms with it and can potentially be massively shocked. Therefore, encourage your children to seek help and support from one another, their close friends and relatives or even a therapist, if needed.
5) Do keep the communication flowing
Some Acod view their parent’s marriage idealistically. Therefore, the perceived perfect marriage that is now breaking down caused great grief and shock. The fear that the family is forever separating can be overwhelming, especially if the children have taken it for granted that the family will always stay together. Hence, it is important for divorcing parents to keep communicating to their adult children. While it might not be easy to convince them that the family is intact, the assurance that they still have both loving parents to support them is crucial to help them cope with the divorce.
In closing, we encourage splitting parents to discuss and think through what they would like to tell their adult children and stick to the story. Some things are just not meant to be shared with the children, no matter whether they are adults or not. You can start discussing you situation with a top divorce lawyer who can advice you on the best way for you to move forward.