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Dear Dish-It: It’s All My Fault

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Dear Dish-it,

My parents got divorced and I still think it’s my fault. All my friends think it’s easy but it’s not. What should I do?

girlsrock678

Dear girlsrock678,

Believe it or not, lots of kids whose parents have split up feel the same way that you do. It’s also very hard for someone on the outside, like your friends, to understand why you feel that way. It seems crazy to them that you would think you could ever do anything to cause your parents to divorce. While they’re right in many ways, that doesn’t make your bad feelings go away.

It’s NOT Your Fault

I’m here to tell you that it’s NOT your fault that your parents got divorced. Please don’t blame yourself. Parents get divorced for many reasons. Usually divorce happens when couples feel they can no longer live together due to fighting and anger, or because the love they had when they first got married has changed. Sometimes nothing bad happens, but parents just decide to live apart.

Like I said before, it’s really common for kids to think their parents' split is somehow their fault. Just try to remember that your mom and dad’s decision has to do with issues between them, not something you might have done or not done. You may feel guilty about what happened, or wish you’d done a better job of stopping your parents from fighting by being a “better kid” – keeping your room clean, doing the dishes or getting better grades. But divorce is really about a grown-up couple's problems with each other, not with their kids. The decisions adults make about divorce are their own.

Feel Better

Talking about your feelings with a friend who DOES understand (maybe you know someone who’s parents are also separated?), a family member who’s going through it with you (like a brother or sister) or an adult that you trust (like a school counselor or your doctor) can really help. You could also try talking to your parents about your feelings or, if that scares you, maybe try writing them a letter…

Your school counselor or doctor may also know of a local support group in your community for kids and teens whose parents have divorced. It can really help to talk with other people your age who are going through similar experiences. The good news is, most kids that go through divorce eventually learn that they can make it through this difficult time in their lives. Just give it some time, let others be there for you and try and focus more on all the good things that happen in your life (getting an A on your next math test, or making a new friend) rather than the bad.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think girlsrock678 should do? Do you know just how she feels and have some advice for her? Leave your comment below!

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