College students can be seriously impacted by parental divorce

Recently, we discussed how divorce impacts kids differently depending on their age. However, you don't have to still be living at home to be impacted by your parents' divorce.

Many couples divorce once their children have gone off to college. Part of it may be the "empty nest" syndrome. They're suddenly alone with each other for the first time in many years and have to face their problems, or simply the fact that they have nothing in common anymore. Others stayed together while their kids were still at home to avoid breaking up the family.

For college students who knew that their parents were unhappy, the news may be a relief. However, it can have a negative effect on many other young people -- particularly if they had no clue that it was coming.

One university counselor says that a parental divorce can affect college students' grades. Aside from the emotional impact of the family they knew being dissolved, they may worry about how the divorce will affect their parents' ability to pay for their education.

If the parents involve their college students in their conflicts, they "can feel like it's taking a lot of time and energy to comfort one parent or both." Holidays and other trips home present a whole new dilemma. How do you divide your time between parents? Some students even consider taking time off from college to help one or both parents.

As more couples over 50 divorce, increasingly more college students are facing these issues. It's essential to understand how your divorce is impacting your child -- even if he or she is now an adult and living hundreds or even thousands of miles away. It's not fair to ask your child to be your comforter-in-chief. There are plenty of other sources to turn to for emotional support. If you see that your break-up is having a negative impact on your child's life, encourage him or her to take advantage of the counseling services offered by the college or university.

Source: Montana Kaimin, "When parents divorce, college students are set adrift," Kasey Bubnash, Sep. 26, 2016

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