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Aging Parents and Problems in Children’s Marriages

The announcement of their kids being divorced may come as a shock to their aging parents. Their reaction to the news can play an important role in their child’s lives, however. Parents may worry and cry over the sadness their children will have to face and how they must be broken-hearted. They may feel powerless, angry, guilty, and ashamed and may grieve the loss as dreams of their happily married children may be broken. But the way they deal with the situation provides an important clue to their children to face the situation themselves. Children draw on their parent’s strength and calm to deal with the myriad changes and turmoil in their own lives during these trying times.

Your stability and wisdom can be an example to your children and thus, you must master your thoughts and emotions before you react or respond to the news. You may have a good cry before you talk to the estranged couple. Perhaps, you may suggest the couple to seek reconciliation; go for counseling and have a separation period before finalizing their divorce so that they can get over the emotional turmoil before finalizing anything. Emotional hurt, the blame game and fault finding often come in a package with divorce along with issues such as the division of property, custody of children and visitation rights.

In the midst of it all, you may have to decide your role and help make the transition stage smoother for your children. You need to be a positive influence in their lives with a mature attitude and model forgiveness. Choose your words and actions carefully to dispel the pain and confusion of your children and help them to heal emotionally. You may have to be a constant support of your child during battles in court for custody and visitation rights. Then, there are practical considerations too. You may have to decide whether you will allow your child to move back home. Perhaps it will be better for them to find their own options such as moving into smaller apartments.

Depending on your financial condition and your children’s attitude, you may have to debate with yourself and your children about how much financial or material support to offer, whether it will be a gift or a loan, or in case of a loan, what will be its duration. You may not want to raise grandchildren, directly or indirectly, too. Perhaps, when your children realize that there are no parents waiting with open arms for them if they do whatever they like, they may make more sincere efforts to reconcile with their spouses. However, avoid the temptation to give advice, which has not been asked for, and ask for your children’s permission before suggesting anything. If parents try to run their children’s lives, it may only complicate the relationships of the couple. If you are too depressed or feel lost, seek counseling.

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