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How and When to Divorce Your Parents

Updated on July 3, 2012

I realize this may sound like a controversial topic: If you're the type of zealot who immediately feels the need to rant and rave about God, Jesus, Family Values or any other such thing, you should probably stop reading now, cos I'm not writing this for you -- I'm writing this for the adult children of parents whose behavior greatly impedes the quality of life experienced by said children. Divorce is not something one does over a minor incident; this is a pretty big thing one only does when one has to.

If you're a teenager reading this, I'm not writing for you, either. Don't print this out and show it to your parents; it's not meant for your situation. That's not to say some of you don't have parents who may need divorcing; and if you're a teen who's actually being abused in some way, I'd advise you confide in a teacher or counselor immediately. If you're not comfortable with that, there are a number of hotlines you can call, but I am not able to advise you beyond that. Again, this article is for ADULT children of parents who are toxic and impossible to deal with any longer.

Why would someone want to divorce their parents?

  • Because you've exhausted all other possibilities. Only you can know if you've done this -- and you will know when you have.

  • Because your parents suck. And we're not just talking about the nosey mother or emotionless father; that's pretty standard stuff which hardly warrants divorce. No, we're talking about parents who seem incapable of treating a child (or anyone else) with any measure of respect. Parents who hate themselves to the point they can't love anyone else. Parents who still hit you even though you're an adult with kids of your own. Parents who lie to you for no apparent reason. Parents who lie to you for any reason. Obviously there are plenty of other things which could go on that list, but you get the idea.

  • Because they're beyond reform. Certainly, rehabilitation is the desirable solution here, but some people are beyond it. Parents are just people, after all, and we all know that some people cannot and will not change under any circumstances.

  • Because your emotional and mental stability have to come first. If you're considering divorcing your parents, it's not over something as trivial as hating the way mum always gets in your business when you drop by for dinner. If you're considering divorcing your parents, it's because you're at your wit's end -- and because you're tired of feeling badly for days and days and days following any interaction with them.

  • Because they're not your responsibility. You are not obligated to go through life feeling like crap because you have emotionally stunted parents. You are, however, obligated to be the best person you can be. If you cannot do that while maintaining a relationship with your parents, then that's just how it is.

How to Do it:

  • Stop being a victim. The next time they start a fight and give you the silent treatment (or whatever) -- roll with it. This is your opportunity to spring clean that part of your life and put something new and better in its place.

  • Don't do it with anger. It won't work, if you do. It has to come from a place of self-love or emotional indifference. If it comes from anger, you'll get over that anger quickly enough and end up back where you started.

  • Have an emotional outlet. Some people don't need this, but most do. If you feel saddened by this divorce, have someone in whom you can confide. If you don't, you may end up going to your parents in a subconscious attempt to fill this need.

  • Get extra support if you need it. You may also want to seek therapy from a professional for the first few months following the divorce.

  • Close all communication lines except for the written word. Do not talk to your parents after you've decided to divorce them; it's too easy to get emotional, and that kind of thing is not going to help. If you need to communicate, do it by writing emails or letters -- this takes more concentration, allows for reflection and is a much better method.

Divorce Doesn't Have to be Permanent

If your parents get their crap together at some point, there's no reason you can't reconcile with them. Look at Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee -- how many times have they divorced and remarried? Ok, probably once, but you get the idea. The important thing here is this: You're not divorcing them because you hate them and don't want them in your life; you're doing this because you can't cope with them in your life.

Hey, it happens -- and sometimes there just isn't a better answer.


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  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 6 years ago

    Kaitlyn, this is not about kids divorcing their parents, it's about adults... if you are having difficulties at home, please talk to a school counselor, teacher, relative or some other person you trust. Good luck. :)

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 6 years ago

    Your school should have a psychologist or some kind of guidance counselor you can meet with. When you go back to school, drop by their offices and make an appointment, that is what they are there for. If your school doesn't have this, tell a teacher you need some counseling because of family issues and they should help you find someone who can help you for free. Good luck, Henry. :-)

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 6 years ago

    Henry, this is about adults *emotionally* divorcing their parents, not children of your age divorcing theirs. I'm sorry but I'm not qualified to comment on your situation, nor give you advice -- you should discuss these things with a family member, family friend, or a counselor at school who can get you some help for these issues you're experiencing. Good luck to you.

  • ASHWINSPGA profile image

    ASHWINSPGA 9 years ago from Lion City ( Singapore)

    Kids know before they apply for Emanipation that once the divorce is approved in court its time to face the harsh reality of facing the world all by themselves. They need to work house feed all by themselves. But if they believe they can make it on their own then by all means they must be given the right to find a better life for themselves than the one they got from their unhappy homes. Its not easy to get emancipated. they need to be 14yrs old, prove to the court they have a roof over their head and are employed. If they are responsible and committed enough to pass these criteria at this tender age, it only goes to show how unhappy they have been living with their parents. Emancipation is the only way for these kids to be happy and it will only make them strong for the even more difficult battles that may come to in their lives.

    Great work Isabella.. Thumbs up