Breaking the news of a divorce is always emotional and hard. As difficult as the separation may be for you, it can be equally – if not more – devastating for your children. This is true regardless of their ages.
Adult children can be just as impacted by a split as young ones. Therefore, it’s important that you approach the topic with just as much sensitivity as you would with any other child. Here are a few key tips for telling your adult child you’re divorcing.
Tell them in person.
Perhaps your child is away at college, or living in another state with a family of their own. Regardless of their living situation, you and your ex should try your best to break the news in person. You should both be present to offer support, love and reassurance.
Furthermore, you should tell siblings together if possible. This can help because they’ll have each other to lean on for support.
Prepare yourself for their reactions.
When a couple separates later in life, one of the most common questions asked is: why now? It can be hard for children to wrap their heads around divorce after a long marriage. They may be angry, or ask many questions. Some big questions could include:
- How will you stay involved as grandparents?
- Who is going to pay for college?
- Who will host each holiday?
- Are we going to keep family traditions?
Give some thought to what your child may ask, and prepare to answer to the best of your ability.
Be honest with your answers.
When you explain your divorce and answer your children’s questions, be as honest as possible. You can also do this without hurting them. For example, they might ask why you didn’t divorce earlier. If you stayed together for your children, you could simply say you stayed together because you thought it was the best option at the time.
It’s never easy to have a conversation about divorce. Remember to be calm, reassuring and supportive throughout the discussion. Your children should leave knowing that they’re your top priority.