I’m 14. My parents are getting divorced, and I don’t know what to do.
The whole thing happened the day before yesterday and now there is a chance that they may divorce.
And if that happens, I will have to decide with who do I want to live. And I don’t know how to chose. I don’t want to chose. Right now, I think that I would chose living with my grandmother.
Everybody says that I should talk to my parents,l et them know how I feel. But I just can’t. They are the last two persons I could talk to about this. It’s to hard.
Even when I say to myself okay now I’m going to talk to my dad,and we begin the conversation- my mouth just won’t open, I can’t talk at all,because I don’t want to talk.The same thing goes with my mother.
I talked to my friend about everything, her parents divorced each other when she was in 3rd grade. She says that she knows how I feel, but I have to talk to my parents. I know what I have to do, but I just can’t.
What should I do ??? Signed, Struggling
Dear Friend, thanks for your question. It seems to me that you are dealing with two crises in your life. Number one is the divorce of your parents and number two is the change that will result – where you will live and with whom you will live.
Divorce is a great loss and a crisis which has a huge impact the lives of everyone involved. My heart goes out to you. I know about divorce. My parents were divorced when I was 12 years old. It was painful. It was destabilizing for my whole family.
Let’s talk first about making the decision of which parent you want to live with. Since you have both parents – my guess is that the judge will want you to choose one of them and not allow you to live with a grandparent. You need to discuss this decision with each of your parents. Write out the pros and cons of living with each of them. Most importantly, answer the question: “which parent will give me the most emotional support, the best guidance and help me stabliize?” It is not your job to stabilize your parents. They must take care of themselves.
Another question is: “which of my parents is trying to be fair and do the right thing during this divorce?” You may not know the answer to these questions but, as you talk with your parents you will find out more information.
Of course, if the divorce is due to one of your parents having an affair – then, you probably should live with the parent who has been betrayed. It’s not a healthy idea to live with a parent who was the main perpetrator of the divorce due to bad behavior such as abuse, addiction, immorality, etc.
I suppose the judge may consider your request to live with a grandparent – but, you will need to have good reasons for making that request. In any case, one or both of your parents may be angry with you. Angry just because they are directing the anger they have at the other spouse towards you. Or angry because you chose one of your parents or grandparents instead of them. Divorce brings out a lot of feelings and anger.
You don’t have to choose anger.
You can choose to find hope and stability in your faith. This crisis can change your life for the better if you let it. Read these articles on faith and: How to Know God Personally
In Christ you can find hope for the future and comfort in your turmoil.
Your parents need you to express your feelings about how this is affecting you. So, go ahead and share the grief and pain you are experiencing. Obviously, if there is a parent who has been abusive towards you – you should not become vulnerable and you should not live with him/her. Write out what you want to say and share with your parents. This will help you to prepare and help you to have the courage to express what is on your heart.
Give yourself time to grieve this divorce. And don’t allow your parents to dump their feelings and problems on you. You are not an adult friend or a counselor. You are in the middle. You are a child of both of them and each shall be your parent for the rest of their lives.
Take care of yourself. Grow in your faith. Keep a journal of your feelings and prayers. Read the Psalms. Ask your parents to join a www.divorcecare.com
support group. Many of the groups have support for children. Go to a school counselor if one is available to share the crisis you are going through. If you need professional counseling – ask your parents to take you to a professional referred by your family doctor or your pastor.
Remember – you have rights too.
THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN
Drawing on our understanding of child development and our experience, we have constructed a list of children’s rights,which are the cornerstone of our thinking. Recognizing these rights is the key to healthy and joyful post-divorce relationships with children.
–A lasting relationship with both parents
–Number one status in their parents’ lives
–Parental cooperation throughout the divorce
–Truthful answers to their questions
–Relief from feelings of guilt and blame
–Freedom from interparental hostility
–Attention to their thoughts and feelings
–Input into the visitation schedule
–Privacy in communication with family and friends
–No displacement by competing relationships
–No requirement to parent their parents
–Freedom from the role of messenger
–No coercion to keep secrets
–An understanding of the divorce agreement
God bless you during the holidays. Let this trial make you stronger and draw you closer to the Savior. Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC