I have been working with teenagers ever since I was one. Though I am aging out I still get to hang out with teenagers on a pretty consistent basis and on occasion I get asked for advice. Sometimes the advice flows out of my experience, sometimes it flows out of maturity (just being able to look back from around the bend with a clear perspective), but most often the advice I like to give comes from the Bible because I have found it to be a reliable and authoritative guide to knowing God and figuring life out.
However, before I dig into what I would say to my teenage friends who are dealing with their parents’ divorce I want to say this: My goal is to help you in your situation. To that end I won’t be writing about what all the Bible says about divorce. Rather, I’ll be writing mostly about what the Bible says about you or about parents.
Here is what I would say to my teenage friends who are dealing with their parents’ divorce.
1. You Are Not Alone. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to or that anyone gets what you are going through. I want to encourage you that even in our darkest hour that God is still with us. Turn to Him, even when you do not know what to say and he will hear the cry of your heart. Check out Romans 8:35-39.
2. Your Parents Are Still Your Parents. You may see one more than the other, but both are still your parents and you need to honor them both. Refuse to choose sides and engage in gossip or negative talk. This means that when you are with your mom, you do not need to gossip about your dad or when you are with your dad you do not need to talk bad about your mom. Check out Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 4:29.
3. Pray for Your Parents Every Day. God can create human life and change the hearts of kings, He is most certainly able to change the hearts of your parents. However, your parents may never change how they interact with one another. Pray everyday for God to comfort you and to give you wisdom in how to interact with your parents. Check out 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
4. Forgive Your Parents. You may be holding on to a grudge against your mom or dad or both. Forgiveness can be tough, but it is necessary. Forgiving your parents if you hold a grudge allows you to process what has happened and begin to move on with your life. If you are a believer, then remember how God in Christ forgave you. While a divorce is certainly a big deal and issues may be compounded by the way one or both of your parents are treating you, you need to start down the path of forgiveness. Check out Matthew 18:21-35.
5. Lean on friends that you can trust. It will be helpful for you to talk about how you feel about your parent’s divorce. You may need to find a trusted adult or counselor that you can talk to on a regular basis and will encourage you and help you process everything that is going on. Check out Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 19:4, and Proverbs 27:9.
To those of you I know Personally: I don’t know what having divorced parents feels like, but I know that things will be different for you and I want to be here for you as a friend while you go through this. My parents were never divorced and so I can’t pretend to know what you are going through. Though I don’t know how you hurt, I know that you hurt and so I’m here for you.
You may also want to check out what Christian recording artist Britt Nicole has to say about dealing with divorce (her parents are divorced). I linked to an interview with her on this topic that I found on the Lifeway Girls Ministry blog here: Britt Nicole on Divorce