There’s a lot to be said about being young when your parents separate. If it happens when you’re a teen chances are you know and understand a lot of what is going on. Or worse, sometimes find yourself in the middle of it.
Dealing with your parents divorcing can be very tough, but here are some things to keep in mind and how to cope…
Realise that it’s not your fault
Irrationally guilt can be something that a lot of children of divorcing parents feel. When something bad happens we often internalise it to try make sense of it, don’t do that.
Your parents divorcing has nothing to do with you. It isn’t because of you or your siblings, or because they “don’t love you enough to stay together” (they love you a lot, that’s never going to change) it’s to do with them and them alone.
It’s okay to feel sad/angry/upset
Being a teen can be hard enough, on the one hand you want to be all grown up and dealing with things like an adult, but at the same time you just don’t really want to deal with the reality of adulting and you’d rather still be a child. That’s even more true if you’re faced with your parents divorcing when you’re a teen; you want to act like you’re fine, but it’s a lot to deal with.
It’s okay to feel sad, angry, upset or even okay with everything. There’s no normal way to handle things, and everyone has a different set of family circumstances. Just take things one day at a time.
If you’re struggling to cope with all of your feelings write it down. Being old-school and taking a pen to paper can very cathartic. You don’t have to show it to anyone, but it can be really good to put your feelings on paper and let them out of your head.
Realise that things will be different, but that’s okay
Yes, your life is going to be different now depending on a lot of things. That may be very upsetting at the moment, but the alternative probably would have been living with two people who are very unhappy and a negative atmosphere at home. Down the road it will be easier to see that it was for the best. It’s probably very hard to see that right now, but trust us in time things will sort themselves out and you’ll have a new “normal”.
Don’t Pick Sides
This is easier said than done especially as everyones reason for separating is different and things can be complicated. It can be easy to project blame on a specific parent, or feel like you have to take sides, but try to maintain your relationship with both parents.
It’s an emotional and upsetting time for everyone; if you feel like you’re been forcing to pick sides tell your parents that it is upsetting you.
Cut Your Parents Some Slack
If you’ve ever been through a break-up you’ll know how upsetting it can be, so imagine what it’s like for your parents after years together, children, a life events…their whole lives basically revolved around each other. So, of course they’re going to be sad/stressed/hurt, but most of all they are going to be worried about you. They haven’t just decided to split on a whim. A lot of thought, time and worrying has probably gone into this decision.
If you have concerns or worries, share them with your parents. After-all, they’re not mind-readers.
It’s okay to feel a whole range of emotions. It’s also important to realise that life does still continue. So, try to keep up with your normal routine when it comes to school and activities. Make sure that you still make an effort to spend time with your friends, it will take your mind off of things.
A lot of people have delt with thier parents seperating (even Kylie Jenner!), it is hard initially, but you will get through this tough time.
If you’re feeling sad, stressed or angry talk to your friends, siblings, parents or a school guidance councillor. There’s also a list of helplines on missy.ie.