Everyone knows that it is painful to watch their parents go through a divorce, but fewer people think about the difficulty that many face when their adult son or daughter goes through a divorce. While the situations are obviously very different, some similarities remain: someone you love is hurting, family relationships are strained, and it can be hard to know the right way to navigate the situation.

What should you do if you adult child is going through a divorce?

•    Offer neutral support. Realize that it is very difficult for your child to tell you about his or her divorce. Give your full support, but avoid saying, “I knew marriage was a bad idea,” or, “This was bound to happen.” Remember that no one except the couple truly knows what is going on in their relationship, and that your one goal is to give love and support to your family.
•    Ask what you can do to help – but only offer what you are comfortable with. Your child can let you know what he or she needs most, whether it is someone to talk to, a place to stay, help looking after the kids, or temporary financial support. Be clear with how you are willing to help, and keep in mind that agreeing to help in a way that is out of your comfort zone will likely lead to problems down the road.
•    Don’t fan the flames of the conflict. This is absolutely not a time to take sides or to encourage anger. Don’t join in when it comes to demonizing your child’s spouse, and don’t take any actions that negatively affect your child’s spouse (unless there is domestic violence or abuse involved that puts you or your family in danger). Be sympathetic and supportive.
•    Be a good listener. Because it is difficult to know the full details of the situation, it is best to avoid giving advice to your child about what actions to take. It’s better to be a good listener and simply be there for your child. All of your advice should come in the form of what your child can do to make his or her life better and happier – not specifics about how to handle the relationship.

Sometimes the best thing that you can do for your divorcing child is also the hardest – don’t get too involved, but make sure that your child knows that you are there to offer your ear, your assistance, and your love.

Do you or a family member need a Seattle divorce attorney? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550 to schedule an appointment with a family lawyer.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington