How to Help a Friend Whose Parents Are Going Through a Divorce

Divorce is tough.

If your friend's parents are in the midst of one, chances are they'll look to you for support as they try and navigate this difficult, painful life event. Even if you don't have any experience with messy parental splits, there are several easy ways you can help a pal whose parents are in the process of formally separating.

Keep scrolling for some tips:

Let Them Know You're There for Them

If your pal's parents are in the midst of a divorce, one of the most crucial things you can do is let them know you're there to support them in any way you can, for now and as long as they may need it. The whole situation is likely making your pal feel anxious and unsettled since an important aspect of their daily life is now up in the air. In other words, they probably have plenty of unanswered questions regarding what the divorce means for them and each of their parents.

Though the dust will eventually settle, their home life as they knew it will never be the same, and they're likely craving something constant (such as their friendship with you) that they can count on. Take their calls, return their texts and do whatever you can to reassure them that you (and the friendship you share) is not going to change. Your buddy needs that sense of security now more than ever.

Monica and Rachel Smile on Friends
(Friends via NBC)

 

Listen

A key aspect to letting your pal know that they have your unwavering support in the midst of upheaval at home is being a great listener. As your friend's parents work through their split, your bestie will likely be faced with several daunting challenges—including changes to their living situation and a possible school switch—which means they'll most definitely need you around as they navigate what can be a tricky and frightening time. Listen to their concerns and offer helpful input if and when you see fit. Though you're not an expert on divorce (and no one expects you to be) just being there as a sounding board for your buddy can be extremely helpful to them.

 

Let Them Know They're Not Alone

Sadly, divorce is actually a pretty common thing, which means you likely know of people in your family or extended friend group who have gone through a similar experience. You can use this knowledge to assure your pal  they're not alone. As weird as it may sound, knowing others have gone through similar events is often very comforting and reassuring in its own right. If you feel secure enough, you can even offer to put your pal in touch with someone who has experience with divorced parents. This will hopefully allow them to see that even though these separations can be painful and messy, there is oftentimes a light at the end of the tunnel.

Spencer Hugs Aria on Pretty Little Liars
(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)

 

Give Them Space

While your friend might be especially reliant on you in the immediate aftermath of their parents' divorce, chances are they will pull back a bit as they begin to feel a bit more at peace with the split. If that happens, do your best to follow their lead. In other words, don't pepper them with questions about the divorce, but don't go completely MIA, either. Let them know that you're there if and when they need to talk, but continue on in your friendship as you normally would, without being too much in their face.

 

Try to Take Their Mind Off the Family Drama

If you're getting the sense that the divorce and the uncertainty that comes with it is having a real negative impact on your friend, do what you can to temporarily distract them from all of that drama. This could mean spending the day wandering around the mall, or hosting an at-home spa day and movie night. While a get-together like this doesn't undo the pain and stress that your friend might be feeling because of the divorce, it provides a welcome distraction that they will most definitely appreciate.

Mean Girls at the Mall
(Mean Girls via Paramount Pictures)

 

For more friendship-filled content, click HERE to learn how to be a supportive friend to someone with dyslexia.