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10 Counseling Tips on How Cope with Your Parent’s Divorce

Many adults seek counseling to cope with their parent’s divorce or separation because so many confusing feelings are associated with the situation. Perhaps all along you sensed mom and dad might breakup but continued hoping things would work out? Kids are not the only people affected when parents split up. Adult children can experience agonizing pain during the divorce process. Some young adults often feel guilty over the broken relationship, yet others believe their parent’s divorce means they will never get married. While there is no magic bullet to ease the sadness, you can still have a close relationship with each parent. The key is find healthy ways to control your emotions, so that you’re able to cope with the looming family drama.

How to Cope with Your Parent's Divorce


Here are 10 counseling tips to cope with your parent’s divorce:

  1. Get counseling to help process any mixed emotions around their relationship. During therapy, family members often realize their parent’s divorce or separation was the only realistic option. No one wants a parent to be unhappy.
  2. Be prepared for legal battles. Whether dad cheated, mom had an affair or they just didn’t get along- lawyers nearly always mediate financial matters.  Attorneys frequently use hyperbolic language which can escalate an already difficult family problem.
  3. Learn how to make a genogram in counseling. The genogram is a person specific visual graphic that identifies family relationships, as well as behavioral patterns. Think of it as a psychological family tree which can help you gain useful insight into your own life.
  4. Seek pre-marital counseling if you are planning to get married. Just because your mother and father got a divorce doesn’t automatically mean your own relationship is doomed. Engaged couples who happen to have divorced parents can go on to have a successful marriage.
  5. Avoid blaming yourself: their constant arguing was a symptom that something larger was dysfunctional with the relationship. How could you possibly save their marriage? Individual counseling works to reduce guilty feelings, plus reduce stress.
  6. Join Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings in Chicago if your parents have an alcohol dependency. Check out the adult children of an alcoholic laundry list. While this is not a counseling group, the shared experience among members is powerful. Local meetups make it easy to find help.
  7. Talk to a close friend-especially if your parents have a bitter divorce. Simply having a support system in place is always a good idea. Leaning on a friendship is far better than trying to carry dysfunctional family challenges alone.
  8. Read divorce statistics online.  Although the divorce rate in the United States is high, you may find comfort reading literature on the subject.  Marriage counselors regularly explain these statistics as way to normalize angry reactions resulting from the breakup.
  9. Consider the type of relationship you want with each parent, once the dust has settled.  It is completely normal to harbor resentment and anger at one or both parents.  Counseling helps family members cope with a parent’s divorce by exploring possible options moving forward.
  10. Allow time to heal.  Family members routinely feel let down when mom and dad get separated. The notion that that a son or daughter can just get over a divorce quickly just isn’t realistic.