Helping a roomate coping with a parents divorce


#1

:confused: I live with 3 guys and one of my roomates who is just 19 has found out that his parents are going through a divorce any advice besides prayer that I could do to help him??

My parents are divorced to but it was very civil. His is not so turning out that way so any advice would be helpful
Thanks


#2

Tell him that when he talks to either of his parents to not listen to them complain or try to make him chose sides. Even as adults you can get sucked into the he said she said stuff. Both of them are his parents and he needs to honor, respect and love both of them. If either parents bring it up he should say something like “mom i am not comfortable hearing you complain about my father. He is my father just like you are my mother and i love both of you.”

Other than that be there for him and pray for him and his family!


#3

Just be there to listen when he needs to dump. Divorce sucks even with no kids involved. When there are kids, it just gets worser and worser. There’s always enough blame to go around. Help your friend stay out of the taking sides thing.

Matthew


#4

How very painful for him. My parent’s divorced after 32 yrs of marriage. The previous poster is right…tell him that he must not get drawn into the he said/she said of it all. I love my parents but they do not realize the pain it causes us kids when they lob insults. Pray for him. It is an incredibly painful process to go thru. Being an adult doesn’t make it any easier. Just be there for him if he needs to talk or vent.
Reassure him that none of it is his fault. At 19 I am sure he knows this but it’s always nice to hear it.


#5

You’ve gotten some good advice.

I’ll just add that if he has younger siblings still living at home he may need to fill the role for them that you are trying to play for him so he might need even more support. If he needs help giving advice it generally should be what you are giving to him.


#6

Share your own experiences of being a child of divorce with him, and reassure him that there is absolutely nothing he could have done to prevent it, that wouldn’t have ultimately caused harm to himself. (For example, if he says that if he had only stayed home instead of coming to college, they would not have been able to get divorced - ask him whether that would have been an appropriate thing to do for his future.)

If he is the oldest child, it will be up to him to parent the other children (make sure their daily needs are taken care of) at least until the major messiness of the divorce is cleaned up, and also to help them stay in contact with the absent parent - he will need to get the address and phone number of the one that moved out, and get it to his siblings, because chances are good that the remaining parent will not do that.


#7

I am not sure I can offer any advice, except that I am going through the same thing with my parents right now. However, I am a bit older than 19;). My parents have been married for 47 years and my father has decided to leave my mother for another woman. I am married and have 3 children of my own.

I tend to disagree with the not taking sides. My father is obviously wrong and is committing a grave sin. My mother does not want the divorce but has no choice in the matter. She lives in the same city that I do, so I have had to help her through this. I went with her to meet with a lawyer and have tried to help her as best as I can. I have “taken her side” because she is my mother and has taken care of her family her whole life and is now left alone to fend for herself. It is a very fine line between “honoring my father” and condoning his choices. I have had to almost cut my father out of my life and my children’s lives because of the hurt it causes my mother. He no longer comes to their sporting events and other activities because I feel that my mother has the first right to be there and for him to be there too would cause her too much pain. He will not attend holdiay functions with my family because my mother will be given the first right to attend. This saddens me greatly because Iove my father and still wish, like a little child, that my parents would stay together.

I do not know the circumstances of your friend’s parents, but just know that no matter how old you are it is still very hard on the children and grandchildren.


#8

Yup, I’ve been there. My parents split up when I was 19 and officially divorced about a year later. I agree that being older does not make it any easier at all! When you are little you aren’t really expected to understand, but when you are older you are supposed to have a more adult understand of the whole thing. But at the same time, they are your parents, so all of those little kid emotions are still there. :confused:

I think the most helpful from my friends was just being there for me. Just being around to listen and give me a hug when I needed it. That was the biggest thing. I would also encourage him to stay out of the middle as much as possible. I personally did end up listening to my parents gripe some (mostly because I tend to avoid conflict and never was able to tell them to stop :rolleyes: ) but I refused to tell either parent what the other one was doing or saying. I wasn’t going to be the go between. But your friend will have to find his own line of what he will and won’t tolerate. But encourage him to find one and then stick to it.

And prayers are always good! :signofcross:


#9

While I agree that one should never condone the obvious wrong done by a given parent, I think that if dependent children are involved some diplomacy may be needed. I don’t know if that is the case with the OP. But if the OP wants to remain in contact with younger, dependent siblings, the OP will want to be careful about badmouthing a parent in public.


#10

It depends on the whys of the divorce, but tell your friend that the taking sides hurts all parties involved.

My parents were divorced when I was 4 yrs old, and my mother never spoke bad about our dad to us. My dad didn’t speak badly about my mom either. So, if your friend was to be in the middle of parental hisses, tell him to politely ask not to be told anything negative about the other parent.

Another thing that can help is to tell him to keep close to both parents. It’s horrible to be w/o a dad. I lived w/o my dad and knowing he never wanted to know about us, was heart breaking. If your roomy keeps a sane and healthy relationship with both his parents, the easier it will be for him.

Divorce sucks. I am sorry your friend is going thru this.


closed #11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.