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Adult Children and Divorce

So often we talk about how to tell your minor children about divorce but we fail to address the adult children of divorce. So often, couples who wait until their children are grown to split up mistakenly assume that they won't be traumatized by their divorce. They use it as an excuse to not only share every detail and tidbit about their divorce but also to involve their adult children in the mess that they alone have created as a couple.

What every person divorcing should know is that when it comes to divorce the kids are never grown. Adult children can be as devastated as young ones by the news, if not more so. No matter how old these kids are they are losing their family as they always knew it.

What to do if you are divorcing and you have adult children? First of all, don't break it to them over the phone. Tell them in person. If possible tell siblings together so that they can use each other for support. Second, assure them that this isn't their fault. Just because they are an adult doesn't mean they don't need to hear it. Don't ever tell an adult child that you only stayed with your spouse because of them. That makes your adult child feel responsible for your unhappiness. Third, don't share all of the gory details with your adult child. This is abusive and harmful. You are still a parent. Act like one and put your child first. Fourth, think about what questions they may have in advance and be prepared to answer them. Be truthful but keep it brief when answering. How will college expenses continue to be paid? What will your relationship with their children look like? How will you maintain family traditions? Finally, expect anger. Your adult children just like minor children have the right to be angry. You just rocked their world. Be sensitive to the fact that you aren't the only one mourning the loss of your relationship with your spouse. Your adult child is too.