Do Parents Divorcing Affect Adult Children?

Gavel and two gold wedding bands symbolizing divorce

It is a common thought of parents to remain married until their children leave the home and reach adulthood, as to minimize the impact their divorce will have on their children. However, research has shown, that even adult children suffer impacts from their parent’s divorce. It is easy to recognize the needs of a minor child when going through a divorce, as they are addressed in the divorce itself. However, it is also crucial to check in on your adult children and make sure their emotions are acknowledged. Speak with your Orlando Divorce Attorney about the involvement of adult children and methods you may want to implement in your family to ensure they are considered.

With the gray divorce number continually increasing, it is inevitable that the number of adult children of divorce also increase. Therefore, researchers are now able to have a pool of adult children of divorced parents to draw statistics from and allow researchers to coin adult children of divorce as ACOD. Research has shown that waiting to divorce until your children are of adult age, may not decrease the emotional instability children face after their parents’ divorce. For instance, one study found that ACODs are 14 times more likely to commit suicide. There are many reasons that researchers have found for this statistic, such as the emotional weight placed on the ACOD, and the lack of acknowledgment of their feelings. However, both of these issues can be avoided if the divorce is handled properly by the parents of the adult child.

One of the major complaints ACODs have is the confusion regarding the overlapping relationship of confidant and child, placing a great deal of weight on the child’s shoulders. When parents go through divorce with adult children, it is common for the parent not to consider the child’s emotional stability and openly discuss the details of the breakdown of the marriage. However, this is difficult even as an adult, because the child has a relationship with both parents and when a parent discusses these details it can cause hostility or make the child choose a side. When going through a divorce with a minor child, a large factor of a child custody case is the parent’s ability to keep the child out of the divorce proceedings. However, when there are adult children there are no court rules to protect them from this parental alienation or involvement in the litigation. Therefore, it is important to take it upon yourself as a parent to find other outlets for your emotions, rather than your adult children. Preserve the friendship you have with your child and the emotional baggage they have to bear during this process as well and do not attack the relationship they have with the other parent.

Further, it is important to acknowledge the feelings of your adult children during the divorce process. Even if the divorce was one that was anticipated by the child, the idea of loss and separation can severely hinder an individual’s emotional capacity and fear of loss may creep in that can continually perverse other areas of the child’s life. Therefore, check in with your child. Do not assume simply because they are of adult age that they should be able to get over this quickly and have no lasting effects. Rather, most children are surprised by their parent’s separation later on in life and can be traumatized by the idea and mourn it as though a death has occurred. However, most ACODs do not receive the emotional support or check ups necessary to properly handle these valid and real emotions.

Many researchers found, that although ACOD can suffer a great deal of effects due to their parent’s divorce, many of these harmful attributes found can be avoided by parents’ protection and acknowledgement. Therefore, if you are a parent with adult children, ask your Orlando Divorce Attorney what steps you may want to take in order to protect your children, even in their adult age.

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