So, your parents are getting a divorce. This may have come as a surprise or perhaps it was expected. Either way, you are experiencing a lot of changes in your life and with changes comes all sorts of different feelings and questions. Just know whatever it is you’re going through is normal.
Divorce brings about changes for everyone involved. One of the first changes you might see is when a parent moves out. Some kids end up living with just one parent full time while other kids split their time equally between each parent. Some kids move in with a parent’s new partner and may even have stepsiblings to deal with.
It might feel like your whole world is being turned upside down. Dealing with a parent’s divorce can be really hard. Kids often have complex and complicated feelings and are left with more questions than answers.
Some common thoughts and feelings include:
- Shock, surprise or disbelief – “What?! How can this be happening?”
- Confusion – “I thought they loved each other. I never saw them argue.”
- Anger – “I’m so mad at them!”
- Sadness or grief – “I wish I could go back in time to when we were a happy family.”
- Anxiety or worry – “What is my life going to look like?”
- Embarrassment – “What will my friends think?”
- Guilt – “I caused this. It’s my fault.”
- Fear – “What if I don’t see my mom anymore?”
- Jealousy – “I wish my parents were like hers.”
- Loneliness – “I have no one to talk to.”
- Relief – “I’m so happy I don’t have to hear them fight anymore.”
These are just a few examples of some of the many way’s kids will feel or think after parents divorce. These kinds of thoughts and feelings are a normal part of the grieving process for children. It’s important to talk about them with a trusted adult (i.e. parent, teacher, grandparent, doctor, pastor, therapist, etc.).
Avoiding your emotions might work in the short term but it won’t work in the long run. Talking with someone can help you feel better. Our skilled clinicians at Treehouse Counseling Services are here to provide support if you feel like you could use the additional help.
By Christine Holmberg, LMFT