The challenges of divorce can seem impossible to overcome. It can seem as though the future is bleak, and there is nothing to look forward to. It can also feel as though you are the only person experiencing this. This is just some of what I hear when we discussing divorce with young people.
The most important thing to remember is that the divorce of your parents is not the divorce of your relationship with each parent. You are, and will always be, loved by your parents, regardless of their marital status. Many feel guilty about talking to either parent, as if they are taking sides, and tend to fear sharing these moments with the other parent. This is an added pressure that need not exist. If you find yourself in this dilemma, it is important to sit down and let both know how you feel. Often, they do not realise the stress that they are putting on their children because they are overly consumed with their own anger and sadness. Explain that you love them and want to support them but that you will not take sides. It is not your responsibility to make them happy and it is certainly not your responsibility to take care of their bruised egos. Rather, it is the responsibility of your parents to ensure that their marital issues do not overshadow the needs of their children.
Have you caught yourself asking this question? Divorce is scary and it brings a lot of fear for the future. Sadly, when parents get divorced, it means that one has to move out of the family home. Living abroad can also mean that families break up and some members even move to a different country. The thought of a physical distance may create a lot of anxiety and fear for you. Where will I live? What will I do if I lose all of my friends? These questions are not easy to answer, but they are most certainly not going to help you to move forward with confidence if you are asking them to yourself.
Share these concerns with your parents. Tell them what you are afraid of. Discuss what you are concerned about. Many parents, when surveyed, do not know how to bring up the topic of divorce with their children. They are afraid of bringing more stress and pressure into the household so, unfortunately, they choose to avoid the topic, which is not helpful.
Divorce is not something that you choose, it is something that your parents choose. This is the most challenging for most young people. ‘I don’t want them to get divorced, why can’t they just get along’; as unfortunate as divorce is, it is much worse to live in a home of anger and depression. Relationships are created to empower our lives and not suppress us into boxes of sadness and unfulfillment. Don’t lock yourself up in isolation. Talk to your parents; share what you are feeling. They love you, and they will always want to help you.