How To Deal With Divorce As a Child? (Teenager’s guide)

July 29, 2021

Reading Time: 8 minutes

If you’re a teenager whose parents are getting divorced, this event is going to take quite a toll on your life. You’ll feel the rush of emotions. You’ll blame yourself, then your parents, maybe your siblings as well, or maybe that special friend that your mom or dad is seeing lately. I know it’s going to be hard, but you need to get over this part and get to the actual reason why they got divorced: THEY WERE UNHAPPY TOGETHER. If you can accept this simple fact, the whole process gets a little bit easier for you.

Going through a divorce is never going to be easy for you or any of your parents. But we are here to talk about YOU. You may be thinking about how you’ll face your friends at school or your inner self. You might not be able to imagine a life where your parents don’t live under the same roof. However, you can still cope with this trauma by taking yourself on the right track of healing and growth. In this article, we will be covering a few things to make the whole process a little bit easier for you, such as

  • how to deal with the negative impacts of divorce as a teen child;
  • ways a child can cope with a divorce;
  • and how growing up with divorced parents changes lives.

How does divorce affect teen children?

Divorce changes a lot of things for you, the way you see something, and the way you live your life. As a child of divorce, you have to start adjusting to stuff whether you like it or not. You might face different psychological and emotional effects in the process. Some kids rebound at a faster pace, but for some, the impact is lifelong. The healing phase takes most of their lives and they still find it hard talking about what they have been through. So, don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. Instead, address the changes that come into your life and fix them in the right direction.

Here are few major changes that you might suffer from the divorce of your parents:

1. Your Grades Suffer

Once the parents get involved in the arguments, there’s no going back if things stretch up to the divorce level. Academically it can be seen the decrease in the grades and the dropout rate of the children. This change is likely to be noticeable in the teenage group, i.e., 13 to 18. The more distracted you are, the more likely you cannot concentrate on your studies.

Fix: When things heat up, find a quiet room and try to focus on studies. If that doesn’t help, ask your parents to leave you at your friend’s or another family member’s place where you can stay away from all this for a while.

For Parents: Try not to get into arguments in front of your children. Trying to fix things as adults rather than indulging in nasty conversations.

2. You Start Showing Behavior Problems

Children from divorced families face rude behavior, introversion, trust issues, poor behavior during communication. You are likely to be more impulsive, short-tempered as compared to kids with two parents. Additionally, you may even face conflicts with your peers after the divorce of your parents. If you’re going through this, understand that it’s normal and you are allowed to face such issues. But never let them take over you or control you.

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Fix: Talk to someone you connect with. Or go to a therapist. Addressing your feelings at this time and coping with them is highly important for your overall well-being.

For Parents: Talk to your kid and understand how they feel. Try to explain things in a better light. Take them to therapists if needed. And keep them away from all the negativity.

3. Withdrawal from the Society

You were a social kid and all of a sudden you may hate going out or become introverted or shy. You’re probably feeling very low and restless at the moment. You may also lose interest in the activities you love or even fear facing social gatherings such as spending time with friends or going to school. Sometimes, you even feel insecure and wonder if their family is the only family who’s broken. That’s understandable given what you’re going through and you’re not alone in this.

Fix: Understand that it can happen to anyone and it is normal. It may turn out to be a good decision for your family to flourish. There are other kids going through the same. You can join a support group to find out that you’re not alone.

For Parents: Encourage your kids to go out more. Help him/her understand why this decision is better for everyone. And tell them they don’t have to face it alone.

4. You Become Emotionally Sensitive

Feelings of loss, anger, irritation, rudeness, and anxiety all come from this transition from a happy family to a single-parent family. In this disturbing phase, you might need, someone, to share things with, talk with them, and make them feel secure, someone who can tune-up with you. But, most crucial is someone trustworthy in sharing their feelings.

Fix: Just know that it’s okay to feel the pain and cry over it. Do not suppress your emotions. Talk about them more often. That’s your way to healing.

For Parents: Never leave your child alone. Keep telling them that you love them. And this is not the end of the world. Help them talk about their feelings clearly.

5. You Lose Faith in Relationships

Loss of faith in relationships and families is one of the deadly impacts of divorce on a teenager. The incident might come as a shock to you or leave a long-lasting impact on your mind and heart. You may start feeling that no relationships last. You might stop believing in the “Happy Ending” thing. While you grow up, you may always have a fear of losing someone. You might be forced to think that everyone will leave you one day, and with this fear, you may not want to welcome people into your lives, which leads to emotional turmoil.

Fix: Relationships are beautiful and they might not always work. Think about the times when your parents were happy together. And realize that they are happy now without each other. This is what matters the most. After all, the goal of our lives is to be happy.

For Parents: Tell your kid about the beautiful aspects of a relationship. How your partner once made you feel, how you feel about them, and how much love there is to give. Tell them that love is always beautiful. People might leave, but they find happiness again – maybe in someone else, maybe in their passion and dreams.

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Growing up with divorced parents

Growing up and sharing your life with divorced parents is quite a chaotic and messy life. You feel like you’re a ball that is continuously being thrown here and there, from going back and forth to your new house to your old father’s or mother’s place. Adapting new behavior and relationships makes your life a mess. Dealing with divorce as a child and growing up with divorced parents is not an easy task.

We have shared a few general situations relatable to every child who’s growing up with divorced parents.

  • Confused Schedule

A confused routine is one of the most common situations, which makes the child go mad. It’s more like traveling from one house to a different home in an hour. You don’t know “Where are you going to spend tonight?” to “With whom are you going to spend your weekend?” Your life is more like a jigsaw puzzle.

Just take the case – 

Well, I’ll be at my mother’s home Sunday night through Wednesday. Then my father gets me Wednesday night, and I stay there until Friday morning except if it’s the end of the week. Then, at that point, I stayed there until Sunday. Then, however, I’ll be at my mother’s this weekend since it was only at the end of the week. Did you get all that? 

“Are you Confused? Damnnn! This is what Divorced Family Child’s life looks like!”

  • Congrats! You’re the Middlemen 

The occasions when folks make their child a middle man and ask them to tell the other parent about upcoming plans and arrangements are crazy. You would think it’d be a lot simpler to send an upcoming schedule. But, unfortunately, it can get over irritating, particularly when you miss something to tell them; they get annoyed with you. 

If they’re not keeping on good terms, you have to become the bonafide peacemaker between the two.

Ten ways a teenager can cope up with the divorce of parents

Regardless of how old you may be, facing your parent’s divorce is so challenging and heartbreaking. As a teen, it tends to be even more difficult. However, the circumstances in your home may add to or intensify the pressure you’re feeling as of now. So if you’re dealing with divorce as a child, recall these ten ways a teenager can cope up with the divorce of parents.

1. Share your Feelings

It’s essential to pour out your heart and mind with someone you trust and understand your emotions. It is the time when you go through a pile of emotions, sometimes happy, the next moment annoyed. Coping with your parent’s separation raises numerous sentiments. It is entirely OK to feel hurt, irritated, furious. In addition, these feelings might change from today. Everybody goes through a broad scope of emotions during this time. Try not to pass judgment on yourself or think that something isn’t right with you. 

Remember! You can cry, yell, go quiet, and so on, as you see fit. Your sentiments are genuine, and you need to communicate them your way.

2. Don’t Alter Your Morals

Choose wise strategies to cope up with your feelings. You may be tempted to carry on improperly, like taking, battling, or utilizing medications and liquor. However, this won’t change the truth – these practices will just make your situation worse for you. 

You can call a friend, take a walk, or write in your journal. 

3. Confide with Someone You Trust

Conversing with another person can be an extraordinary method to communicate how you feel about your parent’s divorce. You might go to your best friend, a sibling, another grown-up relative, an educator, or a school advisor. Pick somebody who is a decent listener and gives you the best advice. 

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Don’t worry if you don’t know what to say. Just share what’s going on in your mind. Be open!

4. Speak with Someone Who’s Facing the Same Dilemma

Someone who’s also facing or has faced divorce trauma earlier can understand your situation better. The same person can help you in showing the right direction. They can make you think about your case in a better way. So it is helpful to seek them out. 

“Start with something like, “Hey Carl! I got to know that your parents broke up last month. So how are you dealing with this mess?”

5. Be Constructive

Even though you’re undergoing an unwanted situation, you need to be constructive in your mind. Only then can you be able to leave out this unworthy feeling. For example, you may compose poems, melodies, stories, or passages in your diary as a source for your sentiments. You can likewise utilize other imaginative activities to compensate for your feelings, such as painting, drawing, moving, or playing sports?

6. Stop Blaming Yourself

No matter what, why did your parents come up with this divorce decision, it’s NOT YOU. Remember, they are also sad you’re not alone. So stop playing the blame game. It isn’t on you. It was a problem between your parents that caused the separation, not you or your sibling. Keep in mind and they will forever be your parents, regardless of whether they are together or not.

7.  Don’t forget your Parents love YOU!

Yes, indeed, they have divorced and in between came up with a lot of ugly conversations and uncountable arguments. But, they are also trying to figure out and accept things. Healing does take time but doesn’t miss the overtime things do change or get better. They may not want to live together as a couple, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you.

8. Don’t let anger take away the best of you.

The displeasure you feel towards your parents for not remaining together can influence you incredibly. It is OK to feel bad, yet do whatever it takes not to allow it to control you or affect your life. Keep yourself busy with the exercises you love to do. Be reasonable to yourself and everyone around you by not allowing outrage to take away the best within you.

9. Chit Chat with your Parents

Don’t keep your parents in a dilemma about how you are feeling. Tell them what you’re encountering sincerely all through as your family is breaking. It’s alright to tell you that you are confused, irritated regardless of whether you imagine that may cause them to feel awful. They are there for you and need to know how you are getting along. Converse with them about how things are going, and let them know what you need for your family as all of you push ahead. 

10.  Talk to an expert

Suppose you’re battling depression, having thought of suicide, and surviving your mood swings through unethical ways. Then it’s time to leave for the expert’s consultation. If you cannot cope with the above shared nine ways, you have to choose the last way to make yourself free of toxicities and negativities. 

Takeaway

Paving your way through your parent’s divorce is undoubtedly difficult. Notwithstanding, the impacts of divorce, in general, are more difficult in the initial 1 to 3 years. 

Eventually, you will realize that it was for the better. But, regardless of how things get changed, never forget you’re essential to your family. Do your best to stay positive throughout this transition phase. Because most of the healing process for you and your parents will depend on how you take it.

A reminder from US to YOU – “This too shall pass.”