Spring Blooms Anxiety for Adult Children of Divorce

May and June can produce anxiety spikes in children of divorce. Adult children of divorce are no different. Two annual rites are a major cause.

First, the bulk of 7 million high school and college students will toss their caps in May and June.1 Second, during this same period over 400,000 weddings will occur.2,3 For adults with divorced parents, graduations and weddings are minefields of potential problems and mental conflict.

Wedding Niels & Lisa by Archangel12 croppedWill mom and dad behave at the reception?
Will Dad’s girlfriend cause a scene at the grad party?
I wish we could turn back the clock so Mom and Dad could sit together at the ceremony. I hate separate pictures!
I can’t stand posing with Dad and Mom for the same picture.
Why can’t I have a normal event like everyone else?
Can’t wait for this graduation dinner to be over so I can get away from all the stress.

This list is the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, these heart cries are rarely given voice. Fiancees and spouses are unaware of the stress we’re under. We just grit our teeth, get through the event, and put it behind us as quickly as possible. But how sad it is to “just get through” a milestone event like our graduation or wedding!

Worse, we’re unaware this is happening. Jesus said, “I came that (you and me) may have life and have it abundantly.”4 But worry and fear can rob us of the joy graduations and weddings should bring. So if you have an event coming up and  you’re stressing over your divorced parents being there:Woman and Bible - Prayer a Powerful Weapon by abcdz2000
1. Write down what your specific concerns/fears/worries are. Don’t hedge or think a concern is silly or unimportant. (Christians, don’t spiritualize and clean them up.)
2. Pray to God about them. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”5
3. Learn more about the specific areas that are affecting you: i.e. fear. There are many resources on this site that can help.
4. Share your list with your spouse, a godly friend, or a pastor or counselor. It is very important to give voice to your concerns.
5. Develop a plan to overcome the problem issue. For example, applying boundaries with your parents/stepparents may be necessary. The book Boundaries by boundaries book Henry Cloud and John Townsend can help you understand this important step.

While your control over who attends events like weddings and graduations (and how they act) may be limited, there are ways you can reduce your anxiety at these functions. Use them and experience how God can clear the fears and give you joy!

 

1National Center for Education Statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372, nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id…
2Number of marriages in the United States froim 1990 to 2014 (in millions) http://www.statista.com/statistics/195931/number-of-marriages-in-the-united-states-since-1990/
3Wedding Statistics in the United States. http://www.soundvision.com/article/wedding-statistics-in-the-united-states
4John 10:10, ESV
51 Peter 5:7, NLT

Photos
The hat toss by David Morris
Wedding Niels & Lisa by Archangel12
Woman and Bible – Prayer a Powerful Weapon by abcdz2000

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