Understanding Adult Children of Divorce | Rewriting Your Future Happily Ever After

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In this unique, insightful and helpful series with Karyn Lynn Grant, we have so far covered: The Heart-Wrenching Impact of Divorce on Adult Children, Tips for Successful Single Parenting, Single Parents Playing the Dating Game and The Secret of Rewriting Happily Ever After is Forgiveness.

Today, we delve into Understanding Adult Children of Divorce: Rewriting Your Future Happily Ever After by Reframing Past Memories.

It seems that reframing a new version of what your “Happily Ever After Divorce” picture will look like going forward becomes the intricate issue at hand.

Karyn, welcome. What part of this scenario involves divorced parents as they rewrite their own unrealistic expectations that may now be subconsciously projecting onto adult children?

Karyn: We, as parents, may need to unravel some of our own skewed thinking involving some sad memories of past episodes in sad seasons gone by and try focusing on some of the happier, more positive memories we had, once-upon-a-time, of our former spouse.

The fact is, every adult child of divorce will respond differently to their own parents’ divorce.

Carol: What may some of those responses be?

Karyn: One adult child may fly the coop. Another adult child may celebrate secretly. Still another may take pity on dear old dad while another adult child chooses to run interference for mom. My thoughts go to:

  • How do you protect your children from the onslaught when a court battle ensues?
  • How do you provide safety and shelter from the storming crossfire of emotions between two parents who are hurting, sad or angry at one another?
  • How do you teach your children that they are not required by either one of you to choose sides?
  • How do you overcome the need to make your children your emotional bodyguards by showing them an example of resiliency, maturity, mutual respect and kindness for their other parent?

It’s not the adult child’s role to run interference for you. It is not their job to pick up the pieces of their parent’s broken marriage. It’s not for them to play judge, jury or mediator.

Carol: I feel you’ve touched on some key questions and feelings here Karyn, insightful from both perspectives: that of the children and parents.

Karyn: This brings to mind. Recently, my 34 year old daughter turned down an invite to my side of the family’s dinner party. “It’s Dad’s birthday, so I am taking my children to his house for Sunday dinner.”

Rather than show my disappointment that her family would not be in attendance at my party, I chose to focus on her next comment, “I don’t know what to do for Dad’s birthday. He has everything…”

I suggested that she make him a bottle of pickled cucumbers and make a cute fabric lid for the Kerr jar with a note on how she loves to garden because of his influence. “He would love that because his mother always made pickled cucumbers from her garden,” I told her.

Carol: and how did your daughter react or feel?

Karyn: she felt loved and supported. She liked the idea and thanked me for it.

After the hurt begins to fade in your own heart, over your divorce from your children’s “other half”, there comes a time for reminiscing upon happy memories that your adult children may have never known about.

Carol: and did that happen during this time with your daughter?

Karyn: yes, soon, she and I were talking about canning apricots and making jam. These were things my former mother-in-law taught me how to do while I was married to my children’s father.

It was fun for me to remember and reminisce upon once-upon-a-time happy memories. Soon, I was laughing with my daughter about days gone by.

Carol: Awe, that sounded lovely. Makes me think of some times with my mother. She was my mom and best friend. Those times are so special.

Do continue with additional wisdom, Karyn.

Karyn: I am still learning the importance of bringing up the positive memories I have about my adult children’s father and sharing them in a cheery tone of voice, even with an added extra dose of humor.

I have texted my children his former baby pictures and pointed out how cute he was in his teens, even pointing out characteristics they might share with him in their appearance!

Focusing on the positives in your former spouse, (your children’s “other parent”) can yield a happy harvest even if your former spouse is still trying to negate you in front of your adult children.

After all, the universe will never judge you for how your former spouse treats you. You need only be concerned with keeping your own “happier memories” from days gone by alive and well in your own mind and heart and continue sharing those memories with your children.

Carol: very true. It is difficult I’m sure on how to deal, be and communicate in these scenarios because they are still their father or mother, whichever the case may be. You state a good way to do so and yes, we have to be aware and responsible for our own actions and what we say and do regarding the other parent, for sure.

Karyn: As you reminisce with your adult children on the good times you had “once-upon-a -time” with their father or mother, they will come to respect you even more. After all, they are the sum total of both of you!

carol santella

Carol A Santella is a Right Hand Advisor and Positioning Consultant to Business Professionals; is a Best Selling Author, Health Consultant, Strategist and Publisher. Carol is also a Radio Show Host for Business Innovators Radio, Host and Founder of Inside with Carol covering Innovators and Trendsetting Influencers in the Fields of Business, Health and Wellness, Medicine, Leadership and Animal Related Industries. Carol is also a Contributor to Business Innovators Magazine, Small Business Trendsetters and the Founder of the Health and Wellness Leaders and Influencers Group; is world renowned for her Acknowledgment and Recognition Model of those who stand out above the rest and assisting them with The Power of Positioning TM. Carol is the founder and operator of The Listener Network which now encompasses her health, communications, publishing and business consulting work.