As a parent, when your kids grow up, get married, and have kids of their own, you can assume the bulk of your caregiving days are over. However, watching your grown child deal with divorce may be one of the most difficult experiences, not just for them, but for you as well. Bandaging up scraped knees and keeping that extra carton of ice cream in the freezer for those teenage breakups are tough, but being a supportive parent while your child is getting divorced is a complicated, painful process all on its own. Here are some ways you can be supportive during your adult child’s divorce.
There are two sides to every divorce, and the blame can always be shared. However, your child’s role in the end of his or her marriage might be one that’s difficult to hear. Regardless of who carries fault or whose decision it was to move forward with a divorce, your child belongs to you and needs you in their corner.
If your child made some serious mistakes, don’t pretend they didn’t happen. If your child was gravely wronged in your eyes or theirs, be careful not to badmouth their ex-partner. Instead, be that voice of reason they need to hear while making sure they still know they always have you by their side. When they are dealing with mediation, the division of assets, and trying to raise children, they need to be reminded that they have a support system.
Create and Maintain Boundaries
If your child needs significant help getting back on their feet during a divorce, it’s up to you to establish some boundaries and guidelines. Your child might be staying with you during the interim while things are settled and money is divided. Make sure they have the stability they need while also encouraging them to be proactive.
To avoid resentment down the road, agree on the terms of what you think is fair to offer them. More importantly, stick to these agreements. Whether you’re offering money or a place to live, make sure you both feel comfortable with the arrangement. The last thing both you and your child need is for your relationship to be strained as a result of their divorce.
Help Maintain Routine
Routine is particularly important if there are young kids involved in your adult child’s divorce. Your role as a grandparent could be pivotal in maintaining the steadiness those children need to continue to thrive through this process. As parents, our instincts are always to help, and this is where you can the most.
If you are flexible and in close proximity to the family, offer to help with transportation and pick-ups for activities. Establishing weekly family dinners and offering some assistance with things like homework and bedtime routines can also go a long way in helping create a sense of routine and normalcy.
As important as it is to provide help where needed, it’s also imperative that you don’t overstep in your involvement with your child’s divorce. Don’t show up uninvited to mediations, meetings, or other events that your child is dealing with during the divorce process. Be there during emergencies and to help keep the flow of normalcy for the grandchildren, but try not to be an overbearing presence. Trust that your child will let you know where and when they need help and don’t pry when they prefer to keep things to themselves.
Divorce is a complicated process for everyone involved. If you have questions or need help with providing your child with divorce support, please contact us at Shafer Law Firm today to speak with an expert.
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About the Author: Kyle M. Janes
Kyle grew up in Meadville and attended Meadville Area Senior High. He attended college at Allegheny College. Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Kyle returned to Meadville to serve the community where he grew up.
Kyle has a diverse family law practice, including divorce, support, custody, juvenile dependency, adoption, pre-nuptial agreements, protection from abuse, and other domestic relations issues. His compassion for his clients and his knowledge of the law allow him to work on a full range of cases, from simple to complex.