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Accepting That Mom and Dad Are Getting a Divorce: Tips for Children


Maybe you are 10 years old, maybe you are 17 or 35; whatever your age you are still considered to be the children of your parents, and just recently you have found out that they are getting a divorce. For many people hearing that their parents are splitting can produced a lot of emotion and a lot of questions. Generally there are two thoughts on the divorce overall: “where did this come from?” or “yes, I did see this coming.” Either way you may still have a hard time dealing with the news, but there are the parents who let the world know they dislike each other, and there are the parents that silently grow distant and cold towards one another. And both can be harmful to a marriage relationship.

Here are a few things to consider when you hear the news that your parents are splitting. First off, it is important for you to know that it is not your fault and there is nothing that you could have done, or not done, to save your parents’ marriage. People grow apart, or there are other facts involved, either way it was their decision to split, and the fault does not rest on you. Next, you want to makes sure you address the feeling you have, if you are experiencing anger, confusion, anxiety, embarrassment or even jealousy, know that you are not alone.

If you are close to your parents talk to them about your feelings, if not seek out a friends parent or even a therapist for counsel. There are many healthy ways for you to deal with what you are feeling, and talking to someone is a great place to start. Another tip is to focus on your life, and go about it as you would on any given day. Continue excelling in school and enjoying time with your close friends, keep up with your sports and extracurricular activities, don’t let the things you love slip away because your parents’ marriage is ending. If you are an older child, keep up with your job and your relationships, and don’t let those be neglected because you are feeling neglected of resentful of your parents.

Along with sharing your feelings, also share what your preferences in the divorce are. As a younger child you may not be as certain, but especially for those teenagers, you know where your friends and your hobbies are. If you want to be with one parent or the other voice that, and explain to them that you are not choosing sides but feel it is best for you. With that, don’t feel like you have to choose sides, many times parents will agree to a joint custody that gives you the chance to spend equal time with the parents. If your parents still fight a lot, also explain to them that you don’t want to be a part of their bickering; you don’t want to have to be in the middle of their fights.

If you are concerned with finances or how your life will change when they split, talk to them about that. Let your parents know that you want to be current on what is going on, because a lot of times, the more you know the better you can prepare yourself for the changes to come. For example, if your parents are planning on moving and that means a new school, by you knowing ahead of time can give you the opportunity to prepare for the switch.

A parents divorce may not be easy, but it is important for you to know that you are not alone. Try looking on the bright side of things if possible, if your parents always fought maybe it can bring you comfort that they will be happy again or less stressed. If your parents were the ones who were always fighting, perhaps recall the many late nights you could sleep because of their yelling. Try to picture how much happier they will be now that they are able to move on. If you at all are able to, showing your support to both parents will help them a lot as well in this really hard and painful season. Use this time to grow closer with your siblings or other relatives as well, those who are near to the situation. By seeing the positive in your parents’ divorce may just be what gives you the strength to walk through it too.