For many adult couples, telling their parents they're getting divorced is a strangely difficult task. It brings out feelings and concerns they have not felt for years — Will my parents reject me? Can I still live up to their expectations? How will they react?
Studies indicate that these concerns are unfounded. Parents will not reject their grown child's decision to divorce. It's a stressful and disappointing decision on both sides, though, and there are no roadmaps guiding the role of parents during a divorce.
Marriage counselors have suggested a few tips for parents of adult-divorcing children:
1. Stay Neutral. Don't say, "I told you so." Ask how you can help to make things easier. Don't try to save the marriage — in most cases, they've already tried to work things out. Offer temporary financial support, housing, and care for grandchildren.
2. Be a good listener. Take cues from your child. You can't tell grown children what to do.
3. Maintain a good relationship with the ex / soon to be ex husband. Draw some boundaries, back off, and give your child's ex-spouse some space. Express sympathy, respect, and continued affection.
4. Build bridges with the other grandparents. Both sets of grandparents need to work together for the sake of the grandchildren.
5. Reach out to grandchildren. This will assure them some security, stability, and the knowledge that they still belong.
6. Know your rights. Divorce and rights of grandparents — You do not have any legal right to enforce visitation if one parent objects. First Wives World wrote about the visitation issue previously — the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parents have the right to determine visitation rights. This is why it is extremely important to mend fences with the custodial parent and with the other set of grandparents.
7. Be patient. It may take time after the divorce for you to reestablish a new relationship with your son or daughter's ex-spouse so that you don't end up erased from the family tree.