No one can really prepare for your parent’s divorce, but in this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to process and deal with a parent’s split whilst you’re away at college…
So, you’re off at college finding your feet as an adult, when your parents inform you that they’re getting a divorce. It’s understandable that you may feel shaken; perhaps you might have seen it coming, but it’s still a difficult situation to deal with.
Many couples will consider ‘staying together for the kids’, but once they’re moved out and it no longer directly affects their living situation, they decide to call it a day. It’s important to know it’s okay to still feel gutted at the prospect of your parent’s divorce, even as an adult.
Divorce can be complicated, so if either parent is feeling lost and confides in you it might be best to suggest seeking family law advice from a qualified solicitor to help give them the legal advice they need. You can then concentrate on being an emotional support knowing legally they’re in safe hands.
A parent’s divorce can sometimes be harder to cope with if you’re living far away from your hometown whilst studying. So, here are some ways to help you cope with your parents’ divorce whilst at college…
Don’t Take the Divorce Personally
It can be hard to imagine how the divorce will impact you, but recognise that it will affect you nonetheless. Try not to overthink the situation with ‘what if’ thoughts and scenarios circling your mind.
If you wind up in this cloud of thought, stop, pause, and take a deep breath because it’s more than likely the divorce doesn’t involve you at all. Thinking too much about it will just upset you.
Rationally we know that relationships are complex and multifaceted things. So, when it doesn’t work out between two people we love, it’s important to just support them both in the decision and know you love them both the same.
Don’t Judge Your Parents
It’s human nature to place blame when things go wrong in a relationship. Hopefully your parent’s divorce is amicable, but in the case that it’s not, it’s best to take a step back from any drama and try not to take sides.
Issues in relationships are never black and white; it’s easy to judge someone if they’ve messed up, but does that mistake have to affect their relationship with you? Think about the consequences that judgement can have on your relationship with your parent before voicing opinions.
By taking a step back and not placing judgement or blame, it allows you to still communicate with both parents fairly and resume a good relationship, after all, they’re not divorcing you. Find the good in both parents as you wrap your head around seeing them as separate units.
Lean on Close Friends
Don’t feel silly for being upset about the breakdown of your parents’ divorce. Even as an adult, their marriage and family home are a great source of comfort. It’s not unusual to be upset about the prospect of that change happening and not knowing fully how it will affect you down the road.
Some of your close friends might be in the same boat as you, but even if they’re not they should be able to support you. By leaning on them and talking through your emotions, you can deal with the situation better and more clearly.
Talk to your friends, but avoid offloading. If you feel deeply affected by it all – more than you’d expect – there might be deeper issues at play. It might be worth seeking professional advice or therapy to talk through issues extensively.
Inform Your Tutors If You’re Having a Tough Time
The last thing you need whilst processing your parents’ breakup is for your studies to suffer. You should inform your tutor of any times in your life where you feel unsettled and where your studies would suffer consequently.
Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit when you’re having a tough time with something. There are support systems in place to help you out, such as extenuating circumstances allowances for coursework and exam times at college.
Utilize the resources around you and make things easier for yourself by reaching out to your tutor and students union.
Practise Self Care
Once you’ve accepted what has happened, it will be easier for you to move on. We know from stages of grief that sadness can come in waves. Sometimes the hard part of being sad is recognising why. Try reflecting on what has maybe triggered these thoughts and just acknowledge you’re feeling this way.
During a ‘wave’ it’s best to turn to those you love for chats, or hobbies you know that help soothe your thoughts. Don’t ignore these times of needing extra comfort; it’s perfectly normal when you’re processing situations beyond your control.
Don’t Ignore How You’re Feeling…
Regardless of age and living situations, your parent’s divorce can still affect you even as an adult. Don’t feel you can’t express your sadness to anyone. With divorce rates as high as they are, chances are you know others who have had to deal with the same scenarios.
Take tips from this article and use them when you’re feeling lost and when you’re unsure where to place emotion. Don’t forget to reach out to your college tutors and inform them of when you’re having difficult times so that your studies don’t suffer.
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