When I was just 13 years old, my parents sat me down on the couch, my hair still soaked from a shower, because they had to tell me something important. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would hear the “D-word” come out of their mouths. They were getting a divorce.
We’re Getting a Divorce
Long story short, mistakes were made, an affair was had, and an unexpected child was the result. I was shocked. My parents seemed like the type of couple that would never split, and it was all because of the way they handled their situation which had stemmed back almost 2 years and led to a mistake. Even though it hurt me, since I was only 13, as I reflect back on it, my parents made some very smart choices that helped break the fall as we got older.
Never Fight in Front of the Kids
First, my parents never, ever fought in front of my 5 year old sister and me. They kept all of their arguments behind closed doors, away from “little ears”. I cannot repeat enough how important that is for every parent to realize, and now that I have 2 daughters myself, I hold that piece of wisdom close to my heart and my mind when things get tense, in any situation. Yelling in the heat of the moment will never solve anything.
Keep Siblings Together
The other piece of advice that I can give, again as learned from my own experience, is to keep siblings together. When my parents were giving me the divorce speech, the topic came up of my mother taking my 5 year old sister regardless of whether I lived with mom or dad. I was furious. I told them straight on that there was no way they were splitting us up, because in reality, with the passing back and forth from parent to parent, she and I would never have a relationship that way. My father ended up with custody of both of us until I went to college, which again ended up being a blessing in disguise.
Everything Will Get Better
Regardless of the circumstances, good and bad, divorce makes children have to grow up faster than they would like, but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Keeping siblings together allows relationships to get stronger as another is crumbling behind the scenes. Divorce, no matter what advice you read or whatever someone says, it’s a tough thing to deal with, and no conversation will go exactly as planned, but just know that in the end, everything will get better. It always does.