If you’re a kid who is experiencing divorce, separation or family conflict, you will likely have to adapt to new circumstances, environments and arrangements quite often.
Adapting can be a tricky task – both mentally and logistically.
Being able to adapt is a great skill to have. However, it isn’t always something that kids with two homes look forward to.
Let’s break down some useful coping mechanisms that you can employ when adapting to new situations.
What Do You Mean By ‘Adapting’?
Adapting occurs when change occurs. You can adapt to a new environment, new circumstances or new conditions.
Let’s consider adapting in a scenario of divorce, separation or family conflict.
If your parents divorce – you have to adapt to a range of things. You have to adapt to:
· The fact that your parents are no longer together
· Your likely new living arrangement
· The amount of time you spend with your parents and so on.
It’s OK To Resent Adapting
When your parents divorce, separate or have conflict, you may sometimes feel as though you had no choice in deciding that you had to adapt.
This can often make you feel frustrated, angry and sometimes even resentful.
If you feel any of these things, it is really important to know that it is OK.
Having your life uprooted is HARD!
So too is having to adapt to situations that you may not want to.
As we have spoken about time and time again, your parents actions are out of your control but what IS within your control are your own thoughts and feelings.
What To Do When You Need To Adapt
Here are three key steps you can follow when you’re finding it difficult to adapt to a new situation or arrangement:
1. Focus on what you can control
Consider all of the things that are in your control when having to adapt to your situation.
Two major things that are in your control include:
· Your mindset and
· Your ability to communicate your feelings
Process your thoughts, let yourself feel your emotions and communicate these thoughts and feelings if you wish for your feelings to be heard.
2. Understand the logistics
Whilst your emotions may be driving your thoughts around adapting to a new situation, understanding and considering the logistics of adapting can be a good, practical coping mechanism.
Let’s take the example that your parents have just divorced, and you will have to travel between two homes.
You have to adapt to this situation where you will ultimately be living in two places.
One way to accept and understand this situation is to think about how this will actually play out.
Your parents will likely do most of the sorting out but it’s important you think about what suits YOU too.
Think about how the situation can be made easier for you. This may include:
· Asking your parents to arrange drop-off and pick-up on a day that suits you or
· Asking your parents to communicate about logistics with each other and not through you
3. Consider the best outcome
When you are adapting to a new situation, everything can seem very stressful and frustrating.
Whilst there may not appear to be much good coming out of your parents’ divorce, separation or family conflict, it can be surprisingly helpful to consider what the best outcome would be in your situation.
Let’s consider the above example where you parents have just divorced, and you will have to travel between two homes.
What would be the best outcome for you?
It may be that you get to spend equal time with both parents, or your parents communicate in a civilised manner when sorting out logistics.
Whatever your best outcome, it will be unique to you.
Understanding and communicating your best outcome can make adapting to a new situation much easier, despite the difficulty involved.
You Are Not Alone
Adapting to new situations in light of divorce, separation or family conflict is never easy.
Some useful coping mechanisms include:
1. Focusing on what you can control
2. Understanding the logistics and
3. Considering the best outcome.