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How gray divorce can affect your adult children

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Divorce

Many times couples in Arkansas wait until they are older to divorce, as they are worried about the effect that the split will have on their children. Even though you may have stayed together for the sake of your offspring, adult children of divorce can become alienated from one parent because of family dynamics while the marriage is intact.

Painful parent-child relationships and attachments

The attachments formed during the marriage between each parent and their children directly affect how those relationships play out after divorce. Children have either secure or insecure relationships with their parents. When they are secure, they feel safe and form good relationships in adulthood. But insecure relationships, where parents are unresponsive, abusive or even reject their children outright, result in offspring who grow up to become untrusting, defensive, detached or angry adults. Such adults may also have unprocessed grief about their relationship with their parents.

Several studies have also shown that painful parent-child relationships can harm the child’s health. One study that tracked children from marriages from the 1950s onward indicated that 95% of those who said they had terrible relationships with their parents during their parents’ marriage had developed severe illnesses.

Repairing your relationship with adult children

The divorce process is complex. In a gray divorce, you may not think that you need to pay attention to the wishes of your children if they are grown and out of the family home. If you have had a contentious relationship with one or more of your children, the time to begin repairing it may occur while you are in the process. You may need to reassure your adult children in a similar yet different way to what you would with minor children.

Consider family counseling, either with your soon-to-be ex-spouse or on your own with your adult children. Not addressing issues that have arisen can harm their health and continue the tenuous relationship between you and your children. You and your adult children deserve to explore the possibilities of a new beginning for all.