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When Your Parents Divorce: Survival Tips When You Have Too Much Responsibility

The article Coping With Your Parents’ Divorce discussed how divorce can change the dynamics of a family. When parents decide to end their marriage, the roles of the family members often change, and sometimes older siblings begin to take on more responsibility to help out. So what do you do when you feel that you have TOO much responsibility?

I know all too well how difficult it is to live in a one-parent household. I’m the oldest of three sisters, and my mother was a single mother for most of my childhood. As a result, I had a lot of responsibility–probably more than my fair share.

I wanted to give you a little support and advice if you’re experiencing a similar situation. Here are some tips to help you cope with having an overload of responsibility:

  • Keep in mind that this is an adjustment for everyone. Your parents may not realize just how much extra responsibility you’ve been given. If you feel overwhelmed, sit down and talk to your parents about the situation. Pray immediately before beginning so that God is invited into the discussion. Remember, GOD knows best how to help your family deal with the situation.
  • Be creative and think of NEW ways to do things. It might be a good idea to come up with some creative ways to solve new problems. Perhaps you could suggest that your mother join a carpool to help you and your siblings get to games and practices. If you have to give up an afterschool activity to help babysit, maybe you could start your own club at home–grab a few buddies and hold a book club in your living room. Maybe you have to start dinner because dad gets home late. Have you thought about trying a new recipe each week? You’ll learn how to cook new food and have fun while doing it. The possibilities are ENDLESS!
  • Form a support group. It takes some time to get used to any kind of change. Be sure to keep a support group of family and good friends around you so that you can vent when necessary. Also, make sure that you have a few trusted adults that you feel comfortable talking to about your situation.
  • Remind your parents how much you love them. Your parents are going through a lot too, and a quick reminder about how much you appreciate them would go a long way. Also, if you try to limit your complaints, they’ll probably be more likely to respond in your favor when you bring a legitimate concern to their attention. Remember:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

  • Pray. Ask God to reveal solutions to both you and your parents. God doesn’t want you to be overburdened and neither do your parents. Be receptive to God’s instructions and your situation will improve.

Do you have any other tips to share?

Image: iStockphoto | Thinkstock


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  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by MissyAngel on February 4, 2012 at 19:47

    My Parents aren’t divorced but I can get the too much responsiblity thing. It drives me a little crazy. Thought sometimes my parents fight making me think they might. They add more to me so that they won’t stress causing them to fight.But I stress only making me get in trouble.

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by Firecat328 on January 27, 2012 at 19:53

    and remember it’s never your fault that they had a divorce! it was completely their choice.

  3. Paris

    Posted by Paris on January 24, 2012 at 16:49

    Another tip would be asking your friends to help you out,because good friends will! Just make sure that you ask your parents permission!