3. Your young adult or teenage child needs you more than you may think or that she will acknowledge. The teen and early adult years represent the years of exploration and growth. Kids at these ages are typically trying to secure their identities. In her search to “find” herself she looks to role models to help her find her way. As her parent you play a pivotal albeit distant role. The values and ethics you have instilled in her over the years become paramount as she engages in the search for self. While she may be capable of functioning completely independently, she still needs your guidance and support. Asking her for dating advice at this point is not the kind of conversation she either needs or wants to have.
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To ‘children’ of divorce of all ages:
1. Your parents are adults, they can date whomever they please. As their child you certainly have the right to voice an opinion about your parent’s romantic choices, especially if you have real concerns. In the end, however, you have to realize that your parents may indeed choose to ignore your complaints and/or concerns. If age is the only issue, at least step back and give your parent’s significant other a chance. If you are worried that mom or dad is being taken advantage of, sit down and talk with him or her.
2. If you do feel you need to involve yourself in a discussion about your parent’s dating choices, be respectful and kind. This is your mom and/or dad with whom you are speaking. Even if you deem your parent’s behavior foolish or immature, it is important to approach the topic gently and calmly. While you may be quick to assume that your parent does not “see” what is “really” going on, you may actually be surprised. If, for example, your dad is dating a woman you deem a “gold digger” because of their age gap and her attitude, you may be surprised to learn that your father is more mindful of the relationship dynamic than you believe. In most relationships there is a quid pro quo. Maybe this woman gives your father something he feels he cannot find in a relationship with a woman closer to his own age. Regardless of his motivation, the choice of partner does indeed belong to him.
Which leads to the next point: