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How to support you son or daughter who is getting divorced

People who get divorced, especially younger adults, frequently turn to their parents for support. Well-meaning parents want to help their son or daughter through a difficult time, but may worry that getting too involved will lead to accusations of meddling. On the other hand, nobody wants to be so hands-off as to essentially leave their divorcing child feeling alone and unsupported.

A recent article from the Chicago Tribune provides some “do’s” and “don’ts” for parents of divorce. Here are samples from each list:

Do:

  • Avoid judging, and focus on being a firm source of support.
  • Expect your child to go through the stages of grief, because a divorce is like a death, in a way.
  • Keep the routine with the grandchildren the same as before as much as possible. Be there to help when there is a single-parent emergency.
  • Let him or her move back home temporarily, but set house rules, as if he or she is a new roommate.

Don’t:

  • Give into the temptation to say, “I told you so,” even if you never liked your child’s ex. Remember that your son or daughter believed marrying his or her ex was a good idea at one time.
  • Give him or her an unconditional loan. Your savings is for you, ultimately.
  • Act as a spokesperson for curious friends and family. Keep answers brief and factual, and avoid spreading gossip.

A divorce can be tough on the whole family, but usually is for the best when the marriage is beyond saving. The best way to ensure a relatively smooth divorce is to have an experienced attorney working for you.

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