If your adult child is going thru a divorce, it is very important that you support them in the way that they need you most. The worst thing you could do is to add to the pain that your child is already going thru. Of course, you wouldn’t do this intentionally, but sometimes in overly criticizing your child’s ex, you may contribute to more uncertainty and confusion for your child.
How can you help your child? Here are some of the many ways:
Firstly, ask them what they need from you. Ask them how their relationship will be with their ex during the separation – will it be amicable, nasty, or somewhere in the middle? If it’s to be amicable, then avoid criticising the ex. Your child will tell you how involved they want you to be – a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen, or the voice of reason / objectivity.
Secondly, avoid talking negatively about your child’s ex in front of your grandkids. The ex is still the kids’ parent. They deserve to maintain a healthy relationship with the other parent.
Thirdly, be the positive part of the “Greek chorus”. I call the circle of influence surrounding a divorcing individual the “Greek chorus”. This would be anyone who would talk to the divorcee about what is happening, and helping them to figure out how to proceed and what decisions to make. I encourage my clients to choose their Greek chorus wisely, and to eliminate anyone who will provide them with advice which will take them in a direction that they wish to avoid. You know the ones – those who have been thru a nasty divorce, and who want to tell you everything you “take” regardless of the fact that you want to work together towards a resolution.
How did you help your adult child thru their divorce? Share your stories with me – send me an email or follow me on Twitter at @sdobsonlawyer and send me a tweet. I want to hear from you! Find archives of my articles on our website.