How to deal with divorce

There are a lot of things that you know are going to be difficult to deal with growing up. But sometimes there’s unexpected stuff that just hits you like a tonne of bricks. Your parents divorcing might be one of those gut-punch moments. Just know that you’re not alone. We’re here to talk you through how to deal with divorce.

Two young men are trying to deal with divorce. This is a wide-angle image.

Dealing with divorce

There are various stages in the how to deal with divorce process. Here’s roughly what you can expect when dealing with this major life change: 

Shock and disbelief

Even if you’ve long suspected your folks might split, hearing the words come out of their mouths can still be really difficult to process. You may feel unprepared to handle the emotions that you’re feeling, and even try to act like it’s not really happening.

Honestly, we don’t blame you. Shock is a natural response to a situation when you haven’t had a chance to get your head around things. Eventually you’ll come to accept what’s happening. But in the meantime it’s important not to shut yourself away, or put up barriers between you and your parents. Make sure to talk it through with either them, a close friend or another trusted adult. Or all three if you need to. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to cope with the divorce.

Sadness and grief when processing the divorce

Dealing with divorce can often feel like you’re losing a parent, since one of them will move away from home. For some, the grief can be just as intense as if they were dealing with bereavement. Unfortunately, most of the time you’re just told to suck it up – you’ll see them on the weekends. 

But the truth is that you have suffered some form of loss. That’s why it’s important to let the grieving process take its course. Don’t hold anything back. Even the most painful feelings and/or hurtful feelings. If you feel like crying, then cry. It’s just a physical way of expressing intense feelings of sadness. 

The pain of the grief process won’t last forever. You’ll learn how to navigate your new reality and there’ll be a new normal. But, for now, take all the time you need to really get in touch with your emotions.

Anger about the divorce

You might feel resentful towards your parents once the separation or divorce is out in the open. You didn’t ask for this and they’ve just gone and made it an even bigger problem. Now everyone’s going to be asking you about it when all you want to do is forget it’s even happening. 

If this is the case, don’t forget that your parental figures aren’t going through separation or divorce to make you feel bad. They’ve made some major decisions and they’re probably also struggling. But ultimately, it’ll benefit everyone in the long run.

An effective way to get anger under control is to have a way to release all that pent up frustration. You could focus that energy into sport or doing something creative. Just as long as no one else gets hurt by anything you say or do. So go ahead, let off steam. Trust us, you’ll feel better afterwards.


Feelings of guilt can make it very difficult to cope with divorce. It’s common for people to look back on the past and feel that somehow they might be responsible. Let’s make one thing very clear – children are NEVER to blame when parents separate. But we understand why it’s easy to think that if you’d behaved a little differently they’d still be together.

Unsurprisingly, blaming yourself isn’t exactly in the ‘How to deal with divorce’ handbook. If your parents were going to split up, they were going to split up. There’s nothing you could have done to stop them. They’re not separating because of you; nothing you have done, are doing or will do could drive that kind of wedge between them. In fact, it’s actually the opposite. You’re probably the one thing that they will always be connected by. The person who they’ll always put first.


If the split puts an end to all the arguments and tension in your house, then you might find yourself breathing a sigh of relief. Don’t feel bad. We’d actually recommend doing some digging to figure out why you feel this way. Maybe violence has played a part in the marriage breaking down. In which case your environment just became a lot less toxic. This’ll understandably put an end to a great deal of grief and suffering.

Relief is often the last thing you’d expect to experience when you’re dealing with divorce. You might think the healing process would’ve taken years. But, hey, if it means you can all move on with your lives then why shouldn’t you feel better now that the worst is over?

Insecurity after the divorce

A parental split can usually shake your core beliefs and understanding of the world. When the two people you pretty much thought of as one go their separate ways, the future can seem quite uncertain. If you’re worried about how you’ll fit into the divorce process, read our article ‘what is divorce‘ to learn more.

Just remember that in many ways your parents’ decision to move away from each other can actually bring them both closer to you. Parents are generally aware of how seriously the breakdown of their relationship affects their children. Having been preoccupied trying to salvage their marriage and going through the legal process required in England and Wales, now they’ll refocus their attentions on making sure you’re alright.

If you need help but are confused about where to go locally for some help, you can always get support on a whole range of issues on our website. You might even want to try going to a divorce support group to help with the healing process.

Next Steps


divorce| parents

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 14-Jun-2022