Sunday, October 14, 2012

Consequences of Grandparent Divorce

Grandparent age people are divorcing more than ever now.  So what are the consequences of couples divorcing at this age?

Well the research states that divorce causes distress for parents, children and grandchildren of any age.
·         Infants cannot understand the reasons why, but do feel the emotional tension in the home. This often displays in irritability, and change in eating or sleeping habits.
·         Toddlers can become more clingy or needy when stress increases in the home. This can also be expressed in anger toward parents or siblings that appear to be unrelated to the source of stress. It is common for developmental regression to happen. For example, a child who is potty trained might start having accidents, or a child might start to suck her thumb again.  Sleeping may become difficult and nightmares could even occur.
·         Preschool and elementary-age children often blame themselves, and have increased anxiety about how their roles will change. For example, they may worry about if they will see Grandma and Grandpa, or if their grandparents will still love them. They may also have nightmares and sleeping problems.  It is common for children this age to become aggressive and angry toward parents, grandparents, and siblings under this kind of stress.
·         Teens may express their struggles by withdrawing from friends, family and special interests. They may feel driven to take care of one or both of their grandparents. They may start to question their own beliefs about marriage, divorce and relationships. At times they may act out by doing rebellious activities such as drinking, drugs, sexual activity, swearing or aggression. 
·         Young Adults children of divorced parents often respond stronger than people would think.  Expecting your adult children to take it in stride might not be realistic. This can completely change the relational dynamics. Children’s worldviews can be challenged by this, they might start to question their childhood memories, and they might even struggle with guilt. “My parents said they stayed together all those years because of me.”  Adult children might view the situation as not just their parents separating, but rather that they are “losing their family”.
·         Age 30+- An interesting dynamic that happens with parents divorcing with adult children, is the parents often heavily depend on the children to transition through the divorce. Parents can forget that their children are grieving too and see how capable they are and rely on them to do things that their spouses used to do. This can become a tremendous stress to adult children.
·         Parents divorcing in the 50+ age bracket face their own special adjustment problems. They often have family and friends that are 20 to 30 year-long friendships that are discontinued due to the divorce. They may have habits or activities that they never had to learn how to do because their spouse did it, and now they are forced to learn how. These issues can be very difficult to adjust to.
·         Severity of symptoms will greatly vary in all ages based on the situation.

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