At the end of March, I wrote a post about what to DO when your adult children get divorced. So, I’m here to follow-up with what NOT to do. Here’s the list, courtesy of Leslie Mann from the Chicago Tribune:


  • Be surprised if your child regresses to the moody, angry teen you thought you’d never see again. Don’t take it personally; he’s mad at the rest of the world now too.
  • Join your child’s meetings with mediators and lawyers unless they invite you.
  • Bad-mouth the ex or say, “I told you so.” That says your child made a dumb choice of partners. But he didn’t think it was dumb at the time. Besides, you never know. They might get back together.

  • Pepper him with questions about the breakup. Just ask, “How can I help?”
  • Loan him cash from the Bank of Mom and Dad without a repayment schedule. Don’t give him your emergency fund. You saved it for a reason and I guarantee it wasn’t for your child’s divorce.
  • Sue for visitation (of the grandkids) unless you absolutely must. Most judges rule in favor of what’s best for the grandchild, which may or may not include you.
  • Call a lawyer, except in these circumstances: If you countered-signed a loan for the couple, if you’re in business with your child or his ex, if you have a trust in their name or if you contributed to the down payment of their home.
  • Dismiss your child’s stress-induced symptoms, like sleep loss, rage and suicidal thoughts. Appetite loss is so common it’s called the “divorce diet.” Friends tell him he looks great, but this may be the one time in his life he wants to gain some weight.
  • Predict the judge’s decision, because each divorce case is so different.
  • Be the spokesperson when friends and family ask about the split. Keep your answers brief and to-the-point. Don’t ask callers to keep the news under their hats. Hats blow off in the wind.

When a couple gets married, each set of parents is bound to their son- or daughter-in-law, and those bonds can be hard to break. So, heed these tips to keep the conflict at bay!


Photo Courtesy: Blaise Alleyne,

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