Regardless of how old you are, your parents will always be just that, and a divorce isn’t easy on any member of the family, especially when people ask you to take a side.
Parents usually try to do their best for us, but when it comes to divorce, their own emotions can compromise their ability to know what’s hurtful and may not know how to manage their feelings.
Sound familiar? Here are some things that can help you understand how to resolve these tricky issues in a way that’s healthy and supportive for everyone involved.
#1. Don’t play devil’s advocate.
Sometimes it may seem that the only right way to handle a situation is to argue all sides, in the hope that the most “logical” solution will become more clear and the issue will be resolved.
While this can be a great problem-solving strategy in some situations, it can cause serious tensions between two people who are fighting, especially if they believe that you’re favoringv one side over the other.
If you find yourself unable to avoid the mediator role in a situation, try to keep questions open-ended, impartial, and sympathetic to both perspectives.
Directing questions inward, such as “How do you feel?” instead of outward, “How does he/she make you feel?” can help the person reflect upon their feelings without placing as much blame upon the other person.
#2. Give yourself space.
While it’s important to support your family, it’s also important to respect your own feelings, and to realize that it’s okay for you to be upset and angry, too.
Because they’re your parents, being in the position of resolving their emotions and arguments can sometimes feel uncomfortable, foreign and unfair.
It’s important to remind them and yourself, that while you may be here for them, you shouldn’t have to be responsible for ending conflicts or making difficult choices.
Setting those boundaries between you and your arguing parents can be vital to maintaining a healthy family dynamic.
#3. Confront things honestly with your parents one-on-one.
It can be exhausting to confront two emotionally-charged people at the same time, and when those people are your parents, that’s all the more true.
If you have concerns about the way things are being handled, address them one-on-one before bringing them to your parents while they’re together.
This can often minimize name-calling and finger-pointing and resolve things in a less stressful environment. It may also encourage both parents to spend more time listening than talking.
Divorce does more to family than simply bring an end to a marriage, and it’s important to acknowledge the tensions and changes that come with it in full force.
This doesn’t mean that the environment has to be hostile or unloving. On the contrary, it can be a time to mend crumbling relationships as they shift to become healthier ones.
Though divorce can be difficult to navigate, it’s important to remember just how important you are to your parents’ relationship, and just how vital they are to you.
Validating those feelings and finding healthy ways to work through this tough time can make the transition less painful and more conducive to healing.
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