Divorce is hard. Whether you're a parent looking for tips to offer or if you're a child looking for advice, here are 16 ways to help cope with divorce.
- Talking about your problems is a good thing, and honesty is the most important.
- Never repress your feelings. Check in with your parents regularly – tell them how you feel; what is going on with you and what you need to do better.
- Don’t choose one parent’s side over the other.
- Don’t become either parent’s protector – they are grown-ups and do not need your help.
- Don’t become a collaborator, agent, or a messenger. Let your parents relate to each other independently.
- Don’t feel guilty, or blame yourself. Children have no control over their parent’s relationship.
- It is okay to spend time with each parent alone. You are a part of both, and can love them both equally.
- Allow yourself to grieve the end of your original family. This will help you open to the possibilities of your own resource and transition into a new and healthier family structure.
- Give up the secret mission of reuniting your family.
- Keep involved with your same gender parent, especially during puberty. This will help you answer questions about gender at a time when confusion and doubt about gender may arise.
- Have empathy for yourself and your parents.
- Keep as normal a routine as possible. This will help you feel more in control when everything seems out of control.
- Don’t try to take on the role as head of the house or homemaker. You are children and entitled to your childhood.
- At the end of the day, it is important to have open conversations about your feelings. If you can’t put them into words, then draw, play, dance, and keep a journal. You are entitled to your feelings – they are legitimate. Divorce is a loss of innocence, and as a child you have been put into a space that is new and frightening.