Older Children are Affected by Your Divorce, Too
Many couples wait to separate or divorce until their children are teenagers or older, thinking they can avoid the negative effects of divorce on the children. Much has been written about how divorce affects young children. But the impact on older children, even adult children, can also be profound.
Parents are often surprised at the strong reaction of their older children to their decision to divorce. But, when you think about it, the reaction isn't really all that surprising.
First of all, older children may have already experienced for themselves the hurt and anger that accompany a rocky or broken relationship. Based upon their personal experience with relationships, older children are likely to closely identify with their parents' emotions surrounding the divorce.
Secondly, as older children become more independent, their relationship with parents may shift to one that more resembles friendship. Because of these blurred lines, parents of older children frequently share more details of their marital problems and divorce with their children than they should. Unfortunately, this puts the older children in a very difficult position. They want to know what's going on, but they don't really want to be that intimate with their parent(s). They want to be supportive, but they aren't necessarily ready to see their parent(s) as regular, vulnerable human beings.
If parents divorce when the children are young, their parenting plans tend to focus on the day-to-day task of raising and caring for the children. Since older children need less structured care, parents may not think they need a parenting plan. But divorcing parents of older children have plenty of details to attend to, as well.
An experienced family law attorney can help you work though the details of divorce that includes older children to address issues when the children are still at home and issues that might arise as the children progress through life.
It takes finesse to navigate these waters. Don't wade in there without a plan and an attorney, just because your children are older.
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