Dealing With Divorce and Separation
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 GrieveDivorce 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 OnIt'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.
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.