Now that you are already a grownup, one of the things that you do not expect to happen is finding out that your senior parents are getting a divorce. “Divorce is one of the most stressful events anyone can ever experience,” according to Michelle Farris, a marriage and family therapist. It may be a complete shock on your part to learn that after thirty, forty or even fifty years of marriage, they still decide to go on separate ways. Once they have decided to get a divorce, you are left with no choice but to deal with the current situation. We understand that what you are feeling and going through right now is difficult. Do not fret because we are going to list down some of the practical ways on how to handle this life-altering occurrence.
Understand Their Decision
Divorce happens for a reason. You may not see it now, but there is a good reason why your elderly parents have decided to separate from one another. The best thing that you could do is to be happy for them. Avoid making them guilty about the divorce. According to Gwendolyn Seidman Ph.D., “Detaching from an ex-partner may be especially difficult for people who are anxiously attached in the first place.” Instead, show them that you have their full support no matter what happens. This is not the time for your endless nags or disagreements.
Never Meddle With The Issues
As much as possible, keep yourself on neutral ground. If the marriage of your parents ended badly, be sure to show them that you are not siding with anyone. Never meddle with the issues that they have against each other. Allow them to discuss the matters on their own. Most importantly, avoid showing your mom or dad that you have a favorite between the two of them.
Ask Them About Their Plans
Now that the divorce has become final, the next thing that you need to take into consideration is the living arrangement of your parents. There are several questions that you must ask yourself so that you could determine the proper steps to make. As such, it is imperative to have a one-on-one talk with your parents. Ask them what they want to happen in the future. Let them know what you think is best when it comes to where they would live or how they could take care of themselves.
Talk About Money
Discussing financial matters with your old parents is going to be difficult and awkward in the beginning. However, there is nothing that you could do but to raise it as an essential topic. Divorce necessarily involves liquidation of the assets of the conjugal union. This is where you will ask your parents if they have some cash to help them survive for the future. Remember that being a senior means that there will be lots of expenses that they need to prepare for.
Adult children do not want to deal with divorce. “Divorce creates emotional turmoil for the entire family, but for kids, the situation can be quite scary, confusing, and frustrating,” said Amy Morin, LCSW. This is a sad reality, but you cannot just ignore what is happening in the marriage of your parents. Be mature enough to deal with the matter and handle the problems. Your mother and father deserve to be happy, even if it means that they have to part ways.