An all too frequent challenge for students is the divorce of their parents. Many parents who are struggling in their relationship will decide to divorce when there are no more children left at home. College is tough enough, but when students hear that their parents are divorcing, that makes college even tougher.
If your parents have decided to divorce, you may experience some of these challenges.
- Getting sucked into taking sides
- Losing financial support
- Deciding which parent to stay with during holidays
- Dealing with your parents’ new love interest
- Receiving conflicting advice on personal problems
- Feeling a sense of abandonment
These challenges are fairly common. These are also challenges that you can find support for on campus. Here are some things you can do to deal with your parents’ divorce.
- Find someone on campus you can talk to. Often you just need to have a sympathetic listener who doesn’t have a bias toward either parent. This could be someone you are dating, an advisor, or a professional in the counseling center.
- Don’t get caught in the middle of your parents’ disputes. You may need to be very firm that you don’t want to hear about the ongoing drama of the divorce and all that goes with it.
- Become financially independent as soon as possible. This may require taking off time from school to work. Financial independence will let you distance yourself from your parents’ struggles. It will also help you avoid disputes about support for your college education.
- Start developing you own “extended family”. College students become very close with their friends. Often you will spend time on breaks with the families of your friends. If you are in a serious relationship, this can also lead to having an extended family. While your extended family won’t replace your biological family, it can help you overcome the sense of abandonment.
- Don’t get into arguments with your parents. These never have a satisfactory outcome. It’s best that you just move on with your life.
It will take time to overcome the challenges of your parents’ divorce. Perhaps the best way to approach this experience is to envision how going through this will make you more independent and more capable of setting your own course in life..