How to Deal With Your Parents' Divorce

Four Parts:Understanding your parent's divorceWorking out your needs with your parentsTaking care of yourselfGetting support

Your parents are very special to you. They nurtured, reared, and love you. It may come as a shock when they decide to get a divorce, but this isn't an uncommon situation.

Part 1
Understanding your parent's divorce

  1. 1
    Understand that divorce is a difficult time for your parents. Arguments may occur and everyone can feel confused. This is a time of a lot of stress for your whole family.
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    Realize that the chances of your parents getting together again are very low. You may hope that they'll get back together again but as two adults who have reached this decision together after a lot of thinking and talking, it's very unlikely that they'll change their mind.
  3. 3
    Don't be embarrassed by a divorce in your family. Divorces are more common now than long-term marriages so you may know many kids at school whose parents have divorced too.
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    Acknowledge the fact that your parents might find other people. Once they're divorced, they may fall in love again. If you're comfortable with it, try to meet any new significant others they may get..

Part 2
Working out your needs with your parents

  1. 1
    Talk to your parents to discuss their reasons and your feelings. It's important that you know what each other are going through. Though it is ultimately your parents' decision, the divorce does impact you, so your voice should be heard.
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    Ask for visitation rights. Unless there are special circumstances (such as an abusive parent) causing the divorce, visitation rights are something that you should get. It will allow you to continue seeing both parents, and grow up with them both.
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    Demand that you be kept up to date. Even though the breakup is between your parents, the outcome and consequences directly affect you.
  4. 4
    Try not to take sides with either parent. Stay out of the conflict. While you may agree with one parent more than the other, it may be best to not voice that.
  5. 5
    Give each parent time to themselves. They need to clear their head and deal with things, too.

Part 3
Taking care of yourself

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    Understand that what is happening between your parents is not your fault. Sometimes, despite the best intentions and efforts, two people just cannot make things work. Sometimes people don't work hard enough at it. But whatever makes them come to a realization that it cannot work, there is nothing you could have done to change the situation, and you can't change their minds either.
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    Keep calm. You can cope up with the changes by staying as calm as you can. Worrying too much may lead to a breakdown. If your parents start fighting, stay out of it. Go to your room, close the door, and read or put on headphones. If things get violent, do not try to come between them. Ring the police.
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    Refuse to act as a go-between or a spy. If your parents are so angry that they refuse to talk directly to each other, they still should not push this on you by making you relay between them or watch what the other one is doing. That can be incredibly stressful for you. Tell them you refuse, and that they need to work out their problems together. You can always just say "I don't feel comfortable being in this situation. Leave me out of it."
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    Take time in the day to quietly relax and clear your head of negative thoughts.
  5. 5
    Write in a journal. It doesn't have to be all about the divorce. Write about your dreams, what you are grateful for, your concerns and your accomplishments.
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    Pursue your hobbies. Do an after school activity, and keep up with the things you enjoy. This could relieve your stress. Do things that you like doing, such as a trip with friends, attending a dance study or planting beautiful flowers.
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    Let your emotions out. Sometimes, just having a good cry can make you feel better. Don't keep your feelings bottled up. Express your emotions and get them out of your system.

Part 4
Getting support

  1. 1
    Find someone to confide in. It's important that you have someone that you can talk to about what you're going through. This can be:
    • A counselor. Counselling can often be found through your school.
    • A close friend or family member.
    • A sibling.
    • A support group for kids whose parents are already separated and are/or about to divorce.
  2. 2
    Talk to your siblings. You're all in this together, and in the same situation. If they are younger, try to make sure they're okay and offer a shoulder to them so that they can talk and get out what they need to.
  3. 3
    Try reading a book about divorce, or about a kid who's parents get divorced.


  • Always remember that even though parents divorce, nothing can ever change the fact that they will always be your mom and dad.
  • If you plan on talking to a friend, make it clear that they have to be trustworthy. It's even better to talk to somebody who have dealt with a divorce before.
  • Be cautious. Sometimes if you ask your parents something really private or deep about the situation, they can become angry. So tread carefully.
  • If they ask you what you think about the situation, be honest. It only makes things worse if you don't say your opinion.
  • Always remember that both parents will always love you no matter what, even if they don't love each other.
  • Love your parents no matter what decision they make. Remember, you will someday make life choices they may not like and may cause them distress as well - you will want their understanding and support then just like they need yours now.
  • Don't let yourself become the adult in the new living situation. Take responsibility and help your family, but don't let them lean on you too much.
  • Listen to some good music to lift your mood. Try upbeat tunes.
  • Sometimes the parents will act like children and they'll use you as a therapist to vent.
  • Don't get stressed out about your parents getting divorced, remember you are not alone. Remember that many people have divorced parents or parents who are getting divorced.
  • If you have a dog, take it for a walk. It will help you relax and clear your mind.
  • Meditate. Beside a sea or under a tree. Avoid noisy environments that overwhelm you.
  • If you are severely depressed and angry try going to therapy, or having conversations with your parents on how you feel.
  • Get a notebook and pour out you feelings through writing or drawing.


  • Drugs and/or alcohol will not help you cope with this situation. They will only make it worse. Drugs are never the answer.
  • If either of your parents is abusive, be aware that this is the first priority. Get help.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Children and Divorce