Divorce rates are high in today’s society, and married couples with or without children and teenagers are divorcing at rates higher than in much of the past. As a teenager, it is common to feel that you had something to do with your parents’ marriage ending. Always remember, however, that your parents are divorcing because of their problems, not because of you.
While it can be a traumatizing and overwhelming experience, try to keep yourself focused and motivated with your own life. Communicate openly with your parents, friends, another adult, or a counselor, as these people would all be more than happy to help you get through this difficult time. It is important not to let your feelings build up inside, as this can lead to depression and other issues.
Emotions From Divorce
There are a multitude of emotions and feelings that come with the news of your parents’ divorce. These emotions can include shock, anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety, worry, fear, embarrassment, loneliness, and sometimes even relief. While these emotions vary and may come and go on a day-to-day (or even hour-to-hour) basis, it is important to recognize your feelings and try to address them. Shock and anger may come if you were not expecting the news of the divorce. You may direct this anger and sadness towards your parents because you feel that they’re being selfish by breaking your family apart.
These feelings are acceptable, but regardless of your anger, be sure to talk it out with your parents. Give them an opportunity to explain themselves, and you’ll likely find that they feel they divorced for the good of your family and that they believe that everyone will be much happier in the long run. It might feel like a terrible decision right now, but take heart in the knowledge that the vast majority of teenagers eventually find that they are much, much happier and less stressed in a divorced family than they were when their parents were living unhappily together.
Anxiety and worry may also arise if you are worried about the future. Remember, though, that no negative feeling can last forever and that your parents will have your best interests in mind. Please try not to worry about the future. As a teenager, your life will be changing in a few years when you go to college or enter the job field, so your living condition at home is not permanent. If you are worried about your future and how the divorce will affect it, talk to your parents and let them know your feelings and let them reassure you that everything will be okay.
Fear and embarrassment may also arise since you do not want things to change. You also may not want others to know that your family is going through a hard time. However, it’s important to remember that this is nothing to be ashamed of. Many teenagers’ parents have gone through a divorce, and divorced families are fairly common and widely accepted in today’s society. Your friends and peers will understand that the divorce had nothing to do with you. On the contrary, talking about your situation gives you the opportunity to share your feelings and receive some much-needed emotional support.
Finally, you may be relieved that your parents are getting a divorce as there will be less tension and a happier environment at home. Feeling relieved at the thought of your parents splitting up is nothing to feel guilty about; in fact, it’s only logical given that your home environment was likely very stressful before the divorce. If you feel the need, talk to your parents about your relief. Tell them that you’re sorry that they’re going through a tough time but that you support their decision and you will be there to support them in the future.
Dealing With the Divorce
The news of your parents’ divorce will bring a wave of emotion to you, and it will also bring new decisions and controversies. There are many ways to maturely and positively deal with your parents’ divorce. First, it is important to be fair to both of your parents. Keep communication open, and do not take sides with one parent against the other.
Be prepared for that fact that even though they know it’s wrong, your parents might deal with the pain of the divorce by saying negative things about their ex-spouse (your other parent). Try your best to ignore it, but also try not to judge them. Yes, it’s immature, but understand that they are going through an immense amount of stress right now. They are suffering in a way that you could not possibly understand, and they need to know that you support them.
If one parent “bad mouths” the other to the point where you can’t take it anymore, it’s okay for you to confront them about it. Tell them about your feelings. Let them know that you love them very much but that the person they are saying negative things about is your mother/ father, someone who you love very much. Acknowledge that it’s okay for them to cope with the pain of the divorce however they see fit, but if that coping mechanism involves them “bashing” your other parent, you’d rather they didn’t do it around you.
Most of all, stress that you’re unwilling to take sides. As a teenager, you want to have strong bonds with both parents and keep in touch with both parents as much as possible. If one parent moves out, be sure to stay connected with phone calls, emails, letters, or visits. It is vital to keep living your own life (because the most important person in your life is you), but try to keep strong family ties. Remember that just because your parents are divorced does not mean that you’re no longer a family.
Finally, recognize that divorce happens for a reason, and the tension or unhappy circumstances that caused the separation will likely disappear after the divorce. Take the experience as your own to build a better self and to help determine who you want to be in life. The world is not going to end as a result of your parents’ divorce, so try to stay positive and continue with your life.
If you are a teen or the parent of a teen who is having trouble coping with a divorce or who is experiencing social or academic difficulties, then perhaps it’s time for you to seek help from an outside source. Christian boarding schools are a great alternative to military-style schools because these schools employ a more balanced approach to helping teens.
At Christian boarding schools, students are rehabilitated through a time-tested and individualized program consisting of both discipline and reward. Students receive the love and guidance they need to transition from a troubled teen into an emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually healthy young adult.