My parents are getting a divorce and I'm not quite sure how I am supposed to react to it, let alone respond to it. On one hand, they see me as a adult now and want to share their relationship problems with me, but on the other hand I feel like they are putting me in the middle of their fighting. I've had friends who's parents got divorced but it was all when they were much younger. As an adult, this is really weird and difficult to deal with on different levels. What do I do?
You are obviously a mature and responsible adult at this because you were 1.able to see that you were separate from your parents’ divorce and 2. want to stay out of the fighting. It will be difficult not to pick sides but you should stay as neutral as possible and in the meantime talk to someone who would not be judgmental in your situation. Also you should talk to your parents and tell them that as bad as it is for them right now they should not drag you into something that you’re not involved in. It’s good that you spoke with your friends who have gone through divorce but as an adult you are much more capable of handling both yours and their emotions. So good luck with keeping a level head in the future and hopefully you can talk to your parents to not drag you into this and find some consolation in another trusted opinion.
- Li, 3rd Year Cal Student
You should approach your parents and tell them how you feel. Although it’s nice that they respect your status as an adult, it’s immature to drag you into the middle of their divorce. They are adults as well and shouldn’t be handling their problems like that. They should definitely seek a counselor’s or lawyer’s advice instead of trying to get you to solve their problems. In short, you’re an adult, but they are too.
As for how you should react/respond? It kind of falls in line with what was said above. Talk to your parents and try to stay as much in the loop as possible. Or, don’t. It’s entirely up to you and how you feel. If you’re really stuck, I’d recommend talking to a counselor or some other person about it.
- Albert, 3rd Year John Hopkins Student
No matter what your relationship was like with your parents prior to the divorce, they were your anchors as you became more independent. It is shattering for a child of ANY age to lose what s/he considers his/her “home” and sense of center. Try to maintain your neutrality with firm but loving comments like, “I’m not comfortable hearing the details of your problems with mom/dad. I love you both.” Establish these kinds of ground rules and stick them. Over time your parents will probably need reminders of these agreements.
This is a tough situation. Reach out to friends for support. Journal your feelings. There are also great professional counselors out there to help.
Communication is the key to every relationship. Let them know that you love them and support them but at the same time cannot take sides because it is their issue that needs to be resolved. Also, don’t forget to make sure that you are okay because this is a really tough situation. Every student gets up to 5 free counseling sessions at the Tang Center so you might want to consider making an appointment.
Good Luck! Stay Strong!
Your Barista, JayKay