Literature on divorce and its impact on young children and adolescents is voluminous. To a lesser extent, there is some literature specific to college age students. Even longitudinal studies commonly end during the college age years. But what about the offspring that are twenty-three years or older when their parents first divorce? With the increase in baby boomer divorces, there is an increase in children seeing the family they have known for decades, dissolve. These are the adult children of gray divorce, parents divorcing after decades of marriage.

There are no known etiologies for the many assumptions associated with adult children and late parental divorce. Embracing a belief that adult children of late parental divorce will be just fine closes the door to acknowledgement of emotions, such as anger, guilt, fear, grief, abandonment, and more. A sanguine attitude toward adult children emboldens assumptions they will be just fine. Anything but a sanguine attitude toward young children and adolescents encourages dialogue about reactions to parental divorce. Literature on divorce and its impact on children correctly supports children and adolescents being expressive. Not only is expression encouraged, it is also validated. Validation is critically important for successful integration of the new unfolding family dynamic. How is it, then, that the same compassion and support are not automatically provided the adult child as well?

The default answer to that question is because they are adults. Divorce is upsetting and may disrupt equilibrium of the adult child, but the common narrative is they are adults and have life skills to quickly move on. And so the abiding painful assumptions continue without examination.

Adult children of late parental divorce are involuntary participants in their family dissolution. By adulthood, family traditions are established. The family home holds years of memories, growing up in the family that is in the picture frame. Literature on divorce is beginning to discuss the notion of waiting until the children are grown before divorcing. One feeling is that just when the offspring feel they are on stable footing, the rug gets pulled out from under them.

Divorcing after decades of marriage will be complicated and emotional. The transition will be challenging for each family member, no matter their age or place in the family. It is instinctive for parents to protect their children from suffering. Assuming adult children will be just fine allows for avoidance of emotional pain. But as hard as it is, one of the best things parents can do for their adult children is acknowledge their emotions with compassion and without rancor.

Author's Bio: 

Smith Barlay has a wild passion of IT, especially IT Certifications, IT Exams, Internet, Searchengine Optimization techniques and Social Media.