Coping with your parents’ divorce can be incredibly difficult and emotional at any age. Below are several tips we’d like to share that may help you navigate the difficult journey of your parents’ divorce when you’re an adult.
Accept your emotions
Shock, sadness, anger, and acceptance are just some of the emotions you may feel when you are told your parents are getting divorced. Just because you are no longer living in their home does not mean your parents separation will not affect you. Their marriage was part of your foundation, and it is normal for you to feel shaken or unsure about things when it needs. It is a big change, and it is normal to need time to grieve. Whatever you are feeling it is important to acknowledge and honour that all such feelings are normal and to be expected.
As an adult you may wish to support your parents as they work through the process of separating. This may bring many challenges for them and for you. It is important to look after yourself during this time by ‘filling your cup’ in whatever way works for you for example long walks in the country, hot baths, talking to friends or playing video games.
Talk to someone
Talking to someone (not your parents) about your feelings can help. While you are not the one getting divorced, it does affect you, so talking to someone about what you are going through may be valuable to you. A sibling will be going through their own process of adjusting to the separation. A partner, friend or maybe even a counsellor may be helpful to confide in and vent to on the hard days.
Another important aspect of self-care through the process of divorce is holding boundaries. Divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can experience and can unfortunately bring out the worst in people at times. It may be that you see a side of your parents that you haven’t seen before. If your parents are having trouble remaining respectful of each other in their communication with you, you can set a boundary that feels comfortable. For example, let them know that you don’t feel ok being put in the middle of their arguments or let them know that there are certain topics that are off limits for you, like their dating. Be open and transparent with your parents about your needs through this process. You must look after yourself to be able to support them.
Don’t judge your parents or look for sides to take
Try to find the good in each parent. They will have their own strengths and weaknesses. Try to achieve a level of understanding for yourself of who they are based on how they were raised and their own life challenges. To villainise one or other of your parents may feel natural at a particularly difficult time, but this will also cast a shadow on how you view yourself.
Hold onto the good
When your parents divorce it can bring into question the legitimacy of your childhood memories. It may taint those memories to learn what was really going on behind the scenes in your home. Don’t let it. Hold onto those good times.
If you're looking for advice and support for your parents please get in touch using our contact us page.