What Youth Say about their Parent's Separation or Divorce



I worked on a project with colleagues (Drs. Robert Hughes, Kale Monk, and Jeremy Kanter) when at the University of Illinois. We asked college students, who were between 18 and 25 years old about their experiences with divorce and separation of their parents. For some, their parents divorced more recently; others, however, experienced the divorce of their parents when they were quite young. At the same time, they all struggled with very similar things over the years regardless of the age they were when their parent's divorced.


WHAT YOUTH SAY THEY STRUGGLED WITH FOLLWOING THEIR PARENT'S SEPARATION AND DIVORCE

  • Getting caught in the middle of arguments

  • Parents talking about other parent

  • Finances

  • Moving/shelter

  • Parents' new relationships


HOW YOUTH SAY THEY FELT

  • Guilty

  • Angry

  • Resentful

  • Lonely

  • Sad

  • Anxious

  • Depressed

  • Worried about future and about parent's feelings

  • Abandoned by one parent

  • Embarrassed to tell others

A variety of resources exist that can help parents to navigate their divorce, so that they can effectively support their children through this difficult time. Many children and youth may benefit from therapy to help them through the transition. Children who have friends who have divorced parents can also be a resources to youth (e.g., Hetherington).


Resources:


Books and online help for teens and children - Divorce Science

Resource for parents - Divorce Science

Emery on Divorce: http://emeryondivorce.com

Emery, R. E. (2006). The truth about children and divorce: Dealing with the emotions so you and your children can thrive. Penguin.

Fisher, B., & Alberti, R. (2016). Rebuilding: When your relationship ends. New Harbinger Publications.

Pedro-Carroll, J. (2010). Putting children first: Proven strategies for helping children thrive through divorce. New York: Avery.




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