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Dealing With Divorce and Separation

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 25 Mar 2015 | comments*Discuss
Divorce separation divorcing

Some teenagers see it coming - the bitter fighting, the name calling, and the door slamming - but others are totally surprised when they learn that their parents are separating or divorcing. Though this may be the best thing for your parents' relationship, it can be hard to imagine that being torn apart is best for your family. When it comes to dealing with divorce and separation, remember that your family is not ending, it is just changing. This may seem like the same thing at first, but in the long run you will come to accept your parents' decision and hopefully realise that it was for the best.

Give Yourself Time to Grieve

Divorce and separation can seem an awful lot like the death of your family, and in a way it is - the death of your family as you know it, anyway. This is a major event, so don't try to gloss over it or ignore it. Give yourself time to grieve by:

  • Crying in the bedroom, screaming in the shower or throwing plastic in the garage.
  • Being happy or relieved that home is no longer a battleground.
  • Talking it all out with your friends.
  • Writing a poem, recording a song or painting a picture of your feelings.
  • Working through your anger on the pitch, track or in the pool.
  • Splurging on a little something to make yourself feel better, even if only for a little while.

Pick Yourself Up and Carry On

It's good to grieve, but not forever. Before you sink into a deep depression, get yourself thrown out of school or irreparably damage your future, remember to pick yourself up and carry on with your life. A lot of teens find it is helpful to:

  • Talk with their parents as adults and ask any questions they still have.
  • Engage in a new hobby or activity as a kind of new beginning.
  • Decorate a room, or even a corner, in their parent's new homes.
  • Contribute to whatever visitation schedule is worked out.
  • Ask both parents to continue visiting their schools, sports matches, plays, etc.
  • Agree to ground rules promoting respect and discussion.
  • Tell both parents that they will not act as spies or messengers for them.
  • Let parents know when they will feel comfortable meeting new partners.
Though it may not seem like it at first, there is a good chance that your parents' divorce or separation will bring calm and peace to your family. Rather than suffering through an intolerable situation, your parents have decided to take steps to change it. Deciding to divorce or separate is not an action that any parent would take lightly, and there is no reason to think that yours would have either.

Even if you don't understand it, trust that your parents' decision was made with you in mind. You don't have to enjoy it, but you do have to respect it and survive it. Good luck.

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My dad has been unhappy for as long as I could remember. I know he has issues growing up. His dad beat his mom , his dad died from Agent Orange when he was pretty young, he was diagnosed with hepatitis c and is just overall unhealthy. He also fights depression and has bad mood swings. My mom and him have been together for almost 20 years. And the whole time my mom has been waiting for him to show him affection like he did before they were married. She's now at the point where she can't take it anymore. She's giving up and is not trying to fix their relationship . If he doesn't try to fix something by the time I gtaduate Shes going to divorce him. I don't want that to happen cause I'm scared my dad my get more depressed and maybe even commit suicide . I want to figure out why my dad is so unhappy , and how I can try to help this situation and make their relationship work again. Any advice please !?
Nic - 25-Mar-15 @ 5:57 AM
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