For couples with adult children, finding the right way to discuss your divorce plans can be a real challenge. Divorce is not easy for most families and may result in fear and unhappiness for all members of your family. Compassion and empathy will go a long way to alleviate fears and help your adult children adjust to changes in your marital status and living arrangements. Here are five strategies that may help soften the blow for your children when breaking the news about your upcoming divorce in California.
Schedule a Get-together
Rather than telling your children through email or on the phone, delivering news of your divorce should typically be done in person with both you and your soon-to-be-former spouse in attendance. This will allow you to explain the situation and answer any questions that may arise. By taking the time to meet with your children in person, you can also provide them with greater reassurance about your continuing love and care for them. If meeting in person is not practical because of distance or other issues, scheduling a Skype or Zoom meeting can often be a good substitute for face-to-face get-togethers.
Don’t Forget Your Role as Parents
Even adult children can find it disorienting and upsetting to hear that their parents are planning to divorce. Taking special care to be supportive and careful about how you present this information will typically allow your children to adjust more easily to the new situation. A gentle approach is usually best when letting your children know about your divorce plans.
Don’t Assign Blame
Like younger children, adult children can sometimes blame themselves for your divorce plans. This is especially true for children who still live at home with you. Making sure to present the information without placing blame on each other or on your children will help them respond to the new situation in the most positive way. If possible, try to remain cordial with your former spouse during the discussions with your children to promote the greatest degree of family harmony for all parties concerned.
Be Ready to Repeat Yourself
It may be difficult for your adult children to take in the information about your divorce at first. Be prepared to repeat yourself several times to explain the situation to them and to ensure that they understand the situation fully.
Provide Relevant Details
For adult children who are currently attending college or who live with you on a temporary or permanent basis, explaining the ways in which your divorce will affect them directly is a good first step toward allowing them to accept the situation with greater confidence. Letting them know where each of you will be living and how the financial matters associated with your divorce will be handled will likely help them adjust to the new normal more quickly.
Be prepared for anger or hurt feelings on the part of your adult children. Over time, they are likely to accept the situation more readily if you have been honest and thoughtful in delivering the news and if you keep lines of communication open with your family during your divorce in California.