Whether you waited until your children were grown to divorce or you’ve been co-parenting with your ex-spouse for many years, parents often believe that adult children aren’t seriously impacted by their parents’ divorce. You may not even consider yourselves “co-parents” any longer.
However, you and your ex will remain your children’s co-parents for the rest of their lives. That’s why it’s essential to remember a few things that can save your kids some pain and stress.
Don’t involve your kids in your conflicts.
You may feel more comfortable talking to your kids about issues with your ex than you did when they were younger. However, it’s important to remember that this person is still their parent. As with younger children, divorced parents shouldn’t criticize each other to their kids. Remember that your child isn’t your therapist or your best friend.
Don’t be upset if your kids are spending less time with you.
If you’ve been divorced for some time, you likely had a custody schedule that determined how much time your kids spent with you and your co-parent. When kids are grown, they make those choices themselves.
It can be difficult to learn that your adult child is spending more time with your co-parent than you. However, that’s their decision, and it may have nothing to do with you. They may have more in common with your co-parent. They may be busy with their own life and spending less time with both of you. Reacting with anger or jealousy is only going to make them less likely to visit.
Don’t ruin their big events.
Divorced parents with grown kids don’t have as much required interaction with one another as those with young children. However, there will still be “big days” like graduations, weddings, births and holidays.
No one should have to worry about which parent to invite and which to exclude because they can’t be in the same room. Putting your differences aside for the sake of your kids is something that divorced parents should always be prepared to do — no matter how old their kids are.
You and your co-parent may have continuing financial obligations to your children even after they’ve turned 18. Maybe you’re helping pay for college, for example. Be sure that those are clearly detailed in your divorce documents. This can help you avoid some common sources of conflict for divorced parents with adult children.