Monday 9th April 2012 was the day my parents decided to separate. The date of their separation will always stay with me because questions suddenly arose concerning whether my sisters and I would still be able to live together. This dramatic turn of events had several repercussions because whilst I focused upon my one single goal to reach university, my two young sisters grew increasingly distressed.
During my parents’ separation, I lived between friends’ houses for two months during my A-Level examinations because my personal life meant I would have found it incredibly difficult to focus. This was an incredibly humbling experience because I was stripped of everything and could put my sole energy into the one thing that could improve my situation, which was my education. I sought refuge in education because this provided me with a stable and solid base.
I did, however, attempt to find ways that I could support myself to reduce the risk of any negative consequences arising from my parents’ separation. I was very surprised to find that there is very little support for young adults when their parents separate. Instead, I found substantial material stating that simply because my parents separated, I was far more likely to commit crime, have depression and drop out of education. One newspaper even stated the ‘stress of divorce can triple risk of children getting diabetes‘. After much deliberation, I choose not to keep my story private because divorce affects so many people on different scales. Some can often feel alone. I believe if personal boundaries aren’t broken, then the cycle of people feeling alone will only continue. If I don’t speak out, then who will? If not me, then who?
With FixersUK, I created a divorce support booklet for young adults. The booklet is used by the NHS and schools nationwide. I was surprised about the reaction I had because I thought nothing much would come from the booklet which shows how a simple thing can fulfil the need for support for young adults. However, there is still so much more that can be done to ensure young adults are provided with a voice during their parents’ separation.
For anyone reading this who is involved in a divorce, there are many options available to you. I want to encourage everyone to seek out information that can help you through this situation and make your own informed choices. Divorce is very common and you are not on your own. In fact, in 2012 there were 13 divorces an hour in England and Wales. Life has many challenges but everyone can take control of their own situation. Find a silver lining in things that test you, as happiness is far sweeter that way.
As for me, I finally came to terms with my parents’ divorce three years after my parents originally announced they were going to separate. In a funny way, I really don’t think I would be the person I am today if i
t wasn’t for my parents’ separation. I learnt so many lessons such as resilience, independence and adaptability. We should focus on the positives rather than negatives of divorce.
Please click the link to look at my booklet “It’s not the end – Divorce support for young people”.
Family Mediation can help parents facing issues after their separation such as making arrangements for their children or separating their property and finances. Please see our website for more information on family mediation or contact us on 01670 528441.