It’s the last phone call you’d want to hear when you’re studying at college or university – your parents are getting divorced. Whether you’re just around the corner or hundreds of miles away in another state, there are lots of things that you will need to think about, and so below, we share some tips on how to cope and get through the situation.
Tell your friends
The chances are that you’ll feel pretty down about the idea of your parents separating – so get your friends around for a catch-up, and they’ll be able to make you feel more relaxed. You could go out for drinks, organize a meal or simply have a girls’ night in watching Netflix. Surround yourself by people who care about you, and you won’t feel so alone. Talk, and be open and honest about your feelings – it’s the only way to react to something like this.
Give your parents support
Your parents will be feeling pretty down, too, and will likely be worrying about finding a divorce attorney, deciding who gets what, and where they’re going to live. Give them as much support as you possibly can, and let them know that you don’t blame them or prefer one side. You must remain impartial during this period, especially when you’re not at home, as they’ll be relying on your support and acceptance of their decision.
If you’ve got study leave or a week without any important exams or classes, consider going home to see your parents face to face. Divorce can be a traumatic and emotional time for everyone involved, and so being together with your parents might be the best idea. Again, you must try not to favor one side – they’re both going through the same emotions, so give them both the attention and love they need. If your dad is living with friends for a while, for example, then make the effort to see him – go for a bite to eat and share your thoughts and feelings with each other.
See a counselor
If you’re struggling to come to terms with your parents’ divorce, then reach out to student services and let them know how you’re feeling.
Most colleges and universities offer on-site counseling and support for students, which you can utilize to get yourself back on track. You’re not weak or childish for feeling down about a divorce, and if you’re worried that the divorce will affect your performance in class, there may be ways for you to take a temporary leave.
Get on with it
If you’re mid-way through a college course, then don’t let the news of your parents’ separation put you off working hard and achieving your goals. Stay focused on the task at hand – getting through the year and performing as well as you can. Sure, you’re going to feel strange for a while, and you’ll want to do nothing other than seeing your mom and dad, but in time those wounds will heal. Distract yourself with coursework, library visits, and your classmates.
We know that divorce is tough, but you’ll eventually come to terms with your parents’ decision to separate and will understand their reasons why. For now, focus on college, do the best you can do, and stay positive. Best of luck.