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How to talk to adult children about gray divorce

Many couples have begun to divorce well into their 50s and 60s. There are many differences with these kinds of divorces compared to other ones, including the fact that the couple will most likely have adult children who no longer live at home but are nonetheless unhappy to hear their parents want to separate.

Couples with adult children need to remember that they are always parents. That means they need to put the emotional well-being of their children over their own self-interests. Divorcing at a later age may be necessary, but you still want to ensure your children are all right during this time. Here are some tips on how to talk with them about this process:

Avoid saying you stayed together for the kids

Many couples choose to divorce later in life because they want to raise the kids in a normal, happy environment. If you divorce later in life, however, then you do not want to inform your adult children of this. They may look back on those fond memories through a different lens. They may assume that their parents faked being happy that entire time, and you do not want to put children through that turmoil.

Tell them they do not need to take care of you emotionally

Adult children have likely started to form their own romantic relationships and have careers of their own. They have their own lives, and you want to assure them that they do not need to take care of you during the divorce. You need to create an emotional support system outside of children that can consist of friends or counselors.

Do not point fingers

For any divorce, regardless of the parents' ages, no one should ever speak negatively of the other spouse in front of the children. Adult children need and want to continue to respect both parents. The future may be uncertain, but children should still be able to maintain amicable relationships with both parents.

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