Your parent’s divorce can be difficult to watch and go through. I know because I had to go through this myself.
Having to go through a divorce between my parents was definitely one of the hardest things I ever had to go through in my life. For the people who have parents going through a divorce, or just told you they are getting a divorce, let me tell you it will get better. It sucks the life out of you for the first year. You will go through the biggest roller coaster of emotions in your life because it will be very difficult on you. It may seem like it is the hardest for the parents because they are the ones that have to figure out splitting everything, who’s going to take what, the paper work, figuring out the schedule between who gets the kids here and who gets the kids there, but it is hard on us kids as well. This is because you are so attached to the family and home you are familiar with, now you are told to pack clothes gather your items and go to another home with only one parent for a certain amount of time. It sucks.
Talking about your feelings is not always easy but it can get you through all the emotions you are having over the hard times you’ve had and the hard times you still have to go through. Don’t bottle it up. Let your emotions out; talk about your feelings. If you are not a person who talks about their feelings that’s ok–I am like that too–but what I found helpful was when I asked my mom if she could put me into sessions with a family therapist who could be there and listen to what I had to say and watch me cry and say everything that I needed to get off my chest and not judge me about it. Therapists are not there to have an opinion about what you are talking about; they are there to listen and give you suggestions and advice to how to make it better for your situation. Choosing to keep our feelings bottled up may actually lead to further depression and withdrawal. Dr. Barton Goldsmith explains, “When we choose to bury our feelings, we act differently. We may not make ourselves available to others and may withdraw, or just not be fully engaged when we do spend time with other people.
One skill that can really help you feel comfortable talking about what you are feeling is reaching out to your close friends that you trust and that will be there for you and listen to you. Friends that have parents that are divorced or getting divorced are perfect when it comes to relating and understanding what you might feel like. If you don’t feel like your friends are the best to talk to, and if you do have siblings, think about talking to your siblings because they are going through the same thing you are. People who can relate to your experience are able to give you suggestions on what helped them get through it.
An important rule to follow is don’t pick sides. Even if you know who asked for the divorce, don’t hold a grudge on the parent that wanted it. It might hurt a lot but they were getting hurt being in the relationship and they were not trying to hurt you; they just couldn’t be in a relationship that they didn’t feel love in anymore. You need to respect and try to understand that parent’s decision even if you disagree. I disagreed with my dad’s decision and didn’t talk to him for a month. I knew he was the one that asked for the divorce and I hated him for that because, in my eyes, he broke up our “happy family.” Taking sides and blaming one parent is a mistake. It will ruin the relationship between that parent and you. You will never feel the same way about them because of what they did but you can’t get upset with them. Understand that they were in a relationship that they didn’t want to be in anymore. I took sides and since the day it happened, I have regretted it.
Another way to deal with divorce is to play sports. It helps your mind get away from everything around you I recommend that you join a team sport because you can create new friendships that can help you through your hard times. Joining other extracurricular activities can also help you meet new people. While joining activities such as sports it can help yourself escape from all the stress you are facing. According to the website Healthline, doing physical activity improves your mood if you are depressed, have anxiety or are stressed out.
Divorce will always have an effect on your childhood and change your life forever. In the moment you may not see or feel that there is anything that can get you through the hard times, but there will always be something you can do to help you overcome the negativity. It might be several things or several people. Don’t limit your strategies. Know that you can and will get through this.
Relationships and Family Advice is a regular column by TriggerTigg3r. Need some advice about relationships in your life? Ask TriggerTigg3r by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your identity will always be kept confidential.