A divorce affects every member of the family in some way or the other, but it is a particularly difficult transition for the couple getting divorced. Going through a separation can result in feelings of loss, anger, hurt and isolation.
One of the biggest concerns for parents getting divorced is the impact it will have on their children. As a child, it is important for you to reassure your parents and support them in the decisions they make. At the same time, you must address your own emotions and take the support of your friends or relatives.
1 Don’t let it affect your relationship with your parents: It’s common for children to get caught in the crossfire when parents don’t get along. However, try not to let your parents’ relationship affect your equation with them. Maintain your individual relationship with each of your parents.
2 Listen, but don’t react: Going through a separation is a very difficult experience, and is bound to cause your parents a great deal of distress. In such times, make yourself available to your parents. Let them vent out their feelings and let them know that you’re there for them.
3 Be non-judgmental: When talking to either of your parents, try not to jump to conclusions. Try to understand your parents’ perspectives, and refrain from taking sides.
4 Allow parents to reach their own dynamic: To whatever extent possible, try not to get involved with your parents’ relationship. Allow them space to make their own decisions and reach their own relational dynamic. Support whatever decision your parents make.
5 Try to converse on neutral topics: Don’t let the divorce be the focus of all your discussions. Talk to your parents about things other than the divorce; share your day with them. Converse with them on neutral topics and try to normalise the experience.
6 Don’t blame yourself: Children often tend to blame themselves in some way for their parents’ divorce. But remember that the divorce has happened because of some irreconcilable differences between your parents, and not about you.
7 Seek support for yourself: Having your parents go through a divorce is bound to be a difficult time for you as well. It’s important for you to seek emotional support for yourself as well - from a friend, relatives or counsellor. Talking about how you feel helps.
The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare