Is it wrong for a parent to go to their adult child for emotional support?

Is it wrong for a parent to go to their adult child for emotional support concerning the parent’s marriage?

I am a divorce and family lawyer and a parent, but I am not a mental health professional. That doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion on this subject or that my opinion won’t prove valuable, but it needs to be given the weight of a legal professional, not a mental health professional. 

When my mother died at age 63, I’m sure it was a comfort to her and to my father that her youngest child was an adult (albeit just barely; he was 18) and that he had his father and 8 older siblings to support him and to support one another. I know my father was grateful to have his children rally around him and support him in his loss and grief. Being an appropriate emotional support for a widowed parent in need is as much a child’s obligation as it is an honor. I don’t see why it should be any different for a divorced parent.  

We all know or will know people who are codependent. They need love and emotional support as much as anyone else. The problem with codependents are that they feel an excessive, pathological desire or need for others’ emotional and psychological support. Divorce is often the result of or the creation of a parent or parents who are codependent in relation to their children.  

So to answer your question: no, it is clearly not wrong for a parent to go to their adult children for emotional support over a troubled marriage, as long as that parent is seeking appropriate emotional support from his/her child(ren). 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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