When parents decide to end their marriage, the resulting sadness and stress impact their children regardless of age. This influence is often overlooked or minimized during a gray divorce, a term used when couples are over 50.
Gray divorces doubled between 1990 and 2015 and could triple by 2030. Experts cite many reasons, including people living longer, empty nesters discovering they have little in common once the kids are gone, and unhappy spouses not financially dependent upon their partners.
Healthy co-parenting is crucial for older children too!
Many of us tend to think about co-parenting only in the context of developing a workable plan when children are under 18 years old. But whether your kids are still minors or adults (some with families of their own), it’s essential for ex-spouses to forge a united front. Here are key components to prioritize:
- Treat your ex with respect, especially in front of your children
- Be consistent when making decisions affecting the family
- Be flexible and willing to adapt to changes
- Keep the lines of communication open and honest
Communicate effectively when discussing family celebrations, traditions, financial considerations, career aspirations and grandchildren.
Achieving these goals can pay dividends
While your marriage is over, your family bond lasts forever. Healthy co-parenting can reduce the grief and stress your children experience after a monumental change. Remember that they will still likely depend on both of you for guidance and strength during difficult times.
Knowing that both parents remain committed to putting them first protects family unity, diffuses emotional turmoil and sets a good example if or when they encounter similar challenges. Even if you are no longer married to the other parent, you can exemplify a healthy parenting relationship.