Dealing with your parents’ divorce can be very difficult. You’ll need time and patience to get used to the changes that come along with this transition. Here are a few tips that might help:
- Recognize your need to adjust. Any type of transition requires an adjustment period and this is no different. It’s okay to need time! Keep in mind that adjustment times vary from person to person, so it may take you longer (or less time) to adjust to this new reality than it might take your siblings.
- Accept that grief is normal. It’s normal to experience grief about the divorce of your parents–after all, the divorce changes life as you knew it. Most people go through a grieving process when events like this occur. It’s okay for you to grieve; however, if you find yourself experiencing long bouts of depression, then it’s probably a good idea to talk to a trusting adult. Seeking help from a professional might be appropriate.
- Forgive your parents. Many teenagers become angry after the divorce of their parents and may even begin to resent one or both of them. However, you should understand that sometimes grownups just can’t figure out a way to remain together happily. Although we all know that divorce is not in God’s divine plan, DON’T JUDGE YOUR PARENTS. They’re doing the best that they know how and it’s God’s responsibility, not ours, to judge others. Instead of being angry with your parents, try praying for them. They’re probably having a pretty hard time adjusting, too.
- Remember that it’s NOT your fault! Sometimes young people internalize things and begin to believe that the divorce is their fault. This is absolutely NOT true! Your parents made a decision and it has nothing to do with you. Remember that they BOTH still love YOU, but just couldn’t figure out a way to make the marriage work with each other.
- Use your support system. Whether it’s an aunt, teacher, friend, or cousin, allow the people who are closest to you to support you during this change. People who love you always will have a listening ear and will be quite supportive of you during this difficult time in your life.
- Embrace the transition. The divorce will probably be pretty hard at first, but try to embrace the change. Chances are that you won’t be able to change the situation; only God can do that and only IF your parents are willing to make amends. Therefore, you should find a way to embrace your new lifestyle. If you now have new responsibilities, use it as an opportunity to show your parents what a responsible teenager they have. Or perhaps you could try new extracurricular activities to fill up newfound time. Be creative and you’ll find that your new life might not be so bad, after all.
- Rely on God! The most important thing you can do in this situation is to ask The Holy Spirit for comfort and emotional healing, for yourself AND for your parents.
At some point, your parents may choose to remarry, which can also be a pretty difficult adjustment. When this occurs, take a few minutes to read When Your Mom/Dad Remarries: Adjusting to Step Parents for some tips on living with a blended family.