If your parents are going through a divorce, there’s a lot you must be feeling. There’s a lot you’re probably going through. Although there’s very little that can actually take the pain away, there are many resources that can help you manage the pain. And that’s what this article will provide. It will give you some resources so that you can help yourself get through a challenging time.
First, you should know that depending on your age, you’re going to experience different things. As you can imagine, divorce can have significant impacts on the children of the family. However, those influences depend on the age(s) of the children, and they are far more significant if children are under the age of 5. Nonetheless, the consequences for pre-teens and adolescents can create a lot of havoc. There are significant concerns for teens as a result of divorce, even without notice at first, that warrants attention, tenderness, and care. For example, depression might arise slowly and get more serious over time if not tended to. The point is depending on your age, you might be feeling more of an impact from the divorce.
Research shows that pre-teens and adolescents who experience a divorce suffer in their self-esteem, academic performance, peer relationships, behavior, and physical health. It might be obvious that mental health issues also begin to surface such as teen anxiety and teen depression. Suddenly, you might feel an instability in the family structure. You might feel as though you’re free to try what you want. You might think to yourself, “Well, my parents are caught up in the divorce, so they won’t notice the drug experimentation that I do.”
But don’t let yourself be fooled by this. Even though you might be pulled to use drugs, especially because they can feel like a way to cope with difficult feelings, those drugs are dangerous and could lead to addiction, poor grades, risky situations, ruined friendships, and self-harm. Here’s what can happen as a result of divorce, and drugs can only make it worse:
- Academic problems
- Trouble sleeping
- Stress and worry
- Sadness or anger towards one or both parents
- Suicidal Ideation and perhaps attempts
- Having trouble with authority at school or with the police
- Trouble getting along with siblings, peers, and parents
- Getting involved with sexual activity
Yes, the divorce your parents are going through can create challenging emotions in you like embarrassment, fear that your parents will abandon you, grief, worry about your parents’ well being, anxiety about who you’re going to live with, fear that one of your parents will forget about you, and maybe even an unrealistic hope that your parents will get back together, setting you up for disappointment. Despite all of these feelings, don’t let drugs be your coping mechanism. Instead, try the items listed below.
- Join a support group of other children your age whose parents are going through a divorce.
- Find a mental health professional and start attending therapy. This can be a way to get your feelings out with someone you can trust.
- Find friends whose parents went through a divorce. Talk to them and find out what it was like for them.
- Journal, write poetry, dance, draw. Art can be a way to get your feelings out too.
Research also shows that divorce can have a stronger negative impact than other events like moving, a new sibling in the family, the death of a family member, or illness. Because it can be so challenging, it’s important to get the help you need. See if you can find a teacher, counselor, or another adult you trust to support you.