Advice for Adults with Divorcing Parents
No one likes to see a long relationship end, especially if there are hard emotions and feelings suffered by the family. The first thing that people whose parents are divorcing have to remember is to be mature. It is human nature for one or the other parent to want support from their family, but they seek it by making the other parent wrong. Here are some rules (commandments) that will make the process less painful. (These do not apply to parents who are physically, sexually or emotionally abusive)
- Don’t take sides: This is critical. Even when one parent is more at fault than the other, adult offspring need to support both parents.
- Be the Adult: Insist that both parents treat each other with kindness. Treat your parents with kindness. Many times, divorcing parents act immaturely because they are afraid and stressed out. It is up to the adults to remind everyone that there were good times as well as the bad.
- Be Sure They Know You Love Them: Most people going through a divorce are insecure and afraid they are unloveable. Elderly people also are facing their mortality and could be fearful of life after divorce. Tell them often and with conviction that you love them, and you will be there for BOTH of them.
- No Gaslighting: Don’t gossip with one parent about the sins of the other parent. Focus on the good things both parents offered. Sometimes some boundaries will be necessary, especially if one parent considers themselves a victim and the other a villain.
- Don’t ostracize: Nothing could be more hurtful to a parent going through a divorce than losing their offspring at the same time. Even if you like own parent more than the other, continue to have a relationship with both.
If either parent has been physically, sexually or emotionally abusive, it is important for all parties involved to have appropriate boundaries. If the threat of abuse continues, protect yourself and the non-abusive parent. Do whatever you have to do.