Elder divorce is on the rise in North Carolina and across the country. Couples over 50 are choosing to end their marriages for several reasons, from feeling disconnected once they have an empty nest to their increased longevity. No matter the reason, these divorces still impact the family.
Adult children still feel the effects of elder divorce. Even if you are out of the house with your own family, it is still natural to feel grief and confusion over your parents’ divorce. You still need time to cope and comprehend the changes this will bring to your life, but there is another thing you need to address as well: how it can affect your children.
The impact on kids is greater than you think
Grandparents’ divorce can affect grandchildren more than you might expect. Even though it is not their parents getting a divorce, children often still feel confused. The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is a special one, and your children might:
- Feel sad, with some symptoms of depression common in older children
- Worry about when they will see grandma and grandpa again
- Fear how the end of a long-lasting relationship will affect their family and future
Children catch on to more than many adults give them credit for. While they might adjust to a grandparent’s divorce faster than a parent’s divorce, they will still need time to process – just like you.
What do you tell the kids?
Talking about divorce is not easy. There are many tips out there about explaining a parents’ divorce to children, but not many about a grandparents’ divorce. However, you can still use many of these tips to explain a grandparents’ divorce as well. For example:
- Be honest, but also keep explanations age-appropriate
- Reassure the kids that grandma and grandpa still love them
- Try to stay positive and focused on the future
- Be prepared to answer their questions
Like any life change, a grandparents’ divorce will also lead children to ask many questions. Their grandparents’ divorce makes divorce seem more real for children. So, one of the most common questions children have is if their parents will divorce.
Of course, there is no way to know the future or promise that you will never get a divorce. However, it is helpful to reassure your children that you love each other, and most importantly, that they are and will always be loved.