Adult Children and Divorce: how to create a positive relationship with your parents
Adult children and divorce can be a nasty situation. There are many cases in which parents use their adult children to their own advantage instead of taking care of them. This puts adult children in a difficult position. Fortunately, if you stick to some simple rules, you can stay out of it. Children of divorce must be prepared to cope with feeling abandoned.
How to stay out of the fight
Your parents may drag you into their fight. They do this on purpose or unintentionally. In one example, the father had brought his son to defend his rights and his position in the divorce in court. Of course, everybody felt very uncomfortable with the situation.
Some parents involve their adult children into the fight aggressively. They require their adult children to testify about the bad behaviour of their partner in court.
Tips for adult children and divorce on how to stay out of the fight:
- tell them you want not to be part of their fight
- do not let them communicate through you
- do not testify in court
- tell them that they are allowed to see you (visitation) because you need it and not because they need it
- put these points in a letter directed to your parents
- involve and include your brothers and sisters in this plan
Help your parents to communicate
Your parents should keep communicating with each other as long as they have children together. If, for example, your mother says "you should say to your father...", remind her that it is much better if they communicate directly with each other.
That you do not want to part of their fight. It will clear the air. If they cannot talk together like normal people, propose to involve a mediator.
Feeling abandoned: cope with it
During the divorce and after it, adult children often experience emotions of feeling abandoned. Both parents are very busy with the divorce and with their own emotions. They have little time and attention for their adult children. It is a common emotion in these situations. It happens to many in situations of adult children and divorce.
On line and off line support groups can help you coping with these emotions.
The feeling of abandonment will go away with time.
One parent abusing the other parent should not be tolerated. Vulnerable people must be kept clear from violence and abuse. The police, a social worker, a child custody organisation or your support group can help.
Adult children and divorce can be forced into difficult situations. This can be avoided with a few simple guidelines: Be explicit to your parents that you do not want to be involved in their fight. That you will not choose between them. Help them to communicate better. Finally, prepare yourself to cope with feeling abandoned.