It is obvious that the divorce process affects young children, or even teenage children living in a household of two warring parents. When divorce occurs in the earlier stages of life, considerable thought and planning focuses on how the parents will continue to parent their children through parenting plans and child custody arrangements. In contrast, in a gray divorce, the adult children may be invisible in the process because there is no format or systems in place for taking care of their needs. In this article, we consider, are adult children affect by their parents divorce? The current research and antidotal studies report a resounding “Yes”!
In fact, there are several distinct areas within which adult children are affecting. First in the financial arena, many adults today are not self-sufficient and rely on their parents for money especially for college expenses, or for support during the transition into a new career or first job. Additionally, any monies that may have been available to the children through inheritance may be diminished by the divorce. Furthermore, the dissolution may put one parent in financial difficulty and a child may be asked to give the parent financial support.
While we have all heard stories about small children being put in the middle between their parents’ fights and being used as pawns in a larger game, adult children too can be put in between both parents. One parent may choose to confide the intimate details of the divorce to his/her child for comfort or with the ulterior motive of pulling the child to his/her side. This type of divisive behavior creates internal conflict for the adult child.
As adults, these children may already be handling lots of responsibilities that include family, children, a job, bills, college which leads to a very busy schedule. Now, after a divorce, the adult children must keep up with two separate households and separate celebrations of holidays, whichput additional strain and stress on all parties involved. Clearly an increased amount of time being devoted to 2 parents living apart can be overwhelming and detrimental to all involved.
Another fall-out for adult children is the loss of a family. Now that the intact family has been shattered, there is not a home to return to that provided a sense of security, a sense of belonging, a common identity and a shared history. Long held family rituals concerning holidays and vacations are gone. These losses can be destabilizing and lead to need to go through the stages of the grief cycle: denial, anger, blame and sadness. In certain instances, there may also be feelings of abandonment by the parent who initiated the divorce.
At Peace Talks, we encourage divorcing parents to consider the concerns of their younger children and well as their adult children. We assist the parents in being aware that their divorce disturbs the foundation of their family, and no one is safe from its fall-out. During collaborative mediation or mediation at our office, we will work with the parents to recognize the results that their divorce has on all generations of their family and endeavor to minimize its negative impact.
Diana Mercer is a Divorce Mediation Attorney and the founder of Peace Talks Divorce; it provides Mediation Services, Divorce Mediation and Child Custody Los Angeles in California. Contact Peace Talks for More information about Divorce mediation California, Post Adult kids affected by Divorce. 8 Peace Practices visit Diana Mercer’s Own Blog at: Makingdivorceworkblog.com