The number of “gray” divorces is growing yearly. A gray divorce is a divorce that occurs when one or both spouses are over the age of 50, and its effects can be significant for older children.
While divorce can be difficult for children of any age, the psychological effects are especially hard on older children. The child may feel sadness and grief over losing a two-parent family. They may struggle with questions such as why their parents had to split up or how they could have prevented it. Furthermore, older children may struggle with the implications of living in two separate households with different parenting styles and rules.
Another psychological effect of gray divorce on older children is that they may feel responsible for taking care of one or both parents. This can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression.
Divorce often means a decrease in household income, which can be especially burdensome for older children. The child may have to contribute financially to help support the family or take on additional responsibilities that may not have been expected before the divorce. These pressures can be difficult for any child, but especially hard on an older one who is already planning for college and their own future. Additionally, the costs associated with divorce can be high, and if the parents are unable to afford them, the child may have to bear a greater burden.
Older children of divorced parents often struggle with social situations as they try to find their place in society. They may exhibit behavior issues or feel isolated from peers with intact families. Additionally, the child may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their parents’ divorce and this can lead to low self-esteem and difficulty forming relationships with others.
A gray divorce can have long-term effects on older children and parents need to be aware of these potential issues before deciding to divorce. It is also essential to seek help from professionals, such as therapists, if the child needs additional support and guidance during this challenging transition.