How to Deal with Your Parent's Divorce

 Are You Dealing with Divorce?

For a long time, I have wanted to blog about what to do when your family is broken up by divorce. I have taken literally thousands of calls from teenagers and young adults whose whole lives have been rearranged by their parent's divorce. Getting over your parent's divorce is never easy, in fact, it will no doubt change the whole direction of your life. Everybody knows somebody from a broken home. They are everywhere. Maybe you too have suffered the pain of a family break-up. If so, this topic is for you. May it help you navigate through the rough waters of confusion, disappointment, anger, and pain.

Whether your parents are separated, are going through, or are already divorced, it's very normal to experience many different feelings and to have a lot of questions. It's also very normal for you to feel like you're the only one who has ever had this happen to you. But I can assure you, you are not alone.

More than anything, divorce seems to bring up a huge load of questions. Why did this happen? Is it my fault? Could I have prevented this from happening? Will they ever get back together? Will things ever be normal again? Did my parents ever really love each other?

Amelie wrote, I mostly feel sad about my parents' divorce. But I also feel angry and confused. There are a lot of feelings. I don't know what to do with them.

You might even wonder if your parents would still be together if you would've done better in school, or not gotten into so much trouble, or helped more around the house. I have known many teenagers and young adults who have all but destroyed their lives blaming themselves for the actions of their parents. The personal blame game is perhaps the most devastating effect your parent's divorce will have on you.

Here's the truth: No matter what that little voice inside of you that is constantly blaming you says, the divorce is about your parents and the problems they have with each other it's not about you. It was not your fault. Your parents are adults and are responsible for the commitments they made toward each other, long before you were born.

Why Did Your Parents Get Divorced?

I could make a list a mile long of different reasons why people get divorced. The truth is, if someone doesn't want to be married any longer, there's always going to be some reason. For example:

  • We can no longer live together.
  • We can't work through our issues.
  • We don't talk to each other anymore.
  • I can't live with your anger, you scare me.
  • I can't take your verbal abuse any longer.
  • I am being physically abused.
  • I don't feel like I love you anymore.
  • I found somebody else.
  • I'm bored in this relationship.
  • You have a serious problem with drinking/gambling.
  • You won't quit looking at porn.
  • You can't handle money.
  • I can't stand your relatives.
  • You won't look for a job.

I could go on and on, and I'm sure you could add some that you've seen in your, or other people's, homes. Experts on marriage say the most common reasons given for divorce are actually preventable. The top reasons given by ex-husbands and ex-wives were lack of commitment, too much conflict and arguing, and infidelity reasons that can be addressed by counseling with a marriage therapist. Tragically, we live in a world where 50% of all marriages end in divorce. It's as if people find it easier to end a marriage, than to work through the problems they may be experiencing.

Still, I don't believe anyone marries to get divorced. They don't say, Well, I'd like to go through the awful experience of getting divorced, so I think I'll get married. Everyone thinks they have found the right one when they marry.

Adam said, I don't understand all the reasons my parents got divorced. Sometimes I wish I knew more of the reasons, so I can prevent it from happening to me.

Personally, I wish divorce didn't exist. I've seen too many lives broken by the effects of divorce, especially the lives of children who had no choice in the matter, but who were the most affected by it. People like Heather said, "Under all my anger is a deep sadness that came from my parent's divorce." 

I want you to know that I feel your pain. And want to help. TheHopeLine's goal is to help you not be a victim, or even a survivor, of your parent's divorce, but an overcomer. It is possible. Hope Coaches are here to listen and help you 24/7 through live online chat.

Just remember: Your Parents' Divorce Is Not Your Fault! Never has been, and never will be.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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4 comments on “How to Deal with Your Parent's Divorce”

  1. I have a question. My mom has since remarried however my Dad states he is remaining true to his biblical marriage vows, "til death do us part", "what God has joined together, let man not separate". He prays for forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation, stating that is the true will of God. It is all very confusing

    1. That's great he feels that way. That's what the bible teaches, although it can be the hardest thing ever

  2. I feel like there is a part of this blog missing, but thank you so much for this. I feel like it has helped the mess of a person I am right now.

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