I think that part of my homesick kid’s problem was the divorce. It all started a few years ago when he was in high school, so he was home with me. I thought we dealt with changes in the relationships when my former husband (his dad) moved out and then moved away. I’d hoped that the stability of staying in our home helped ease the transition.
Fast forward to the actual divorce and we were forced to move out of the only home he’d ever known. We moved into a rental which I made as home-like as possible. We got comfy. He was still in high school with his friends and so all the familiarity continued, even though his family life was unrecognizable.
He’s told me he feels like his childhood was taken from him by the divorce which gutted me. When he told me this, it made me feel so badly for him and guilty for the fact that his dad left. But as I told him, The past is the past and we have to take it from right here. Deal with the feelings we have and heal. Find ways in which we can nurture ourselves and forgive what we felt was unacceptable because that’s our reality. So we’ve had long talks which haven’t been easy because truthfully, I feel a lot of guilt for both kids’ unhappiness and disillusionment because of the divorce. I’m not from a divorced family, but I can imagine how hard it is.
So we’ve had some interesting talks. He’s a mindful and deep thinker. I had to clear up a few misunderstandings though because he was younger when we broke up. I don’t talk badly about his dad. I don’t think that’s fair. I let him come to his own conclusions and when he’s right about something, I do agree with him and when he’s wrong, I let him know that too. But this is his journey and his relationship with his dad. It’s not for me to interfere in, except to help him to heal along the way.
He’s still homesick and away at university. We still communicate almost daily, but he’s getting better. He’s seeing the counselor at school which is good because he had refused before now. His dad is quite absent even though he knows that our son is homesick. That man has turned into a huge disappointment which saddens me. I knew him as a caring father and husband. I wish I could tell him to snap out of whatever disconnection he’s living in, but that’s not my place. It wouldn’t help our kid or me if I were to say it as he’d blame the kid and me and not look at himself.
So, I help the kids as best I can by working through their feelings about the divorce etc. The other kid has issues too, but he’s doing better and is not homesick. I think it’s because he’s a little older that helps a lot.
If your kids are having trouble transitioning to college, you’re not alone and they aren’t either. Be gentle but firm with them. Be patient because transitioning to college under ‘normal’ circumstances can be difficult, but the added burden of being a child of divorce makes it harder sometimes. Listen to what they’re saying and not saying. That’s helped us so much through this journey. I hope the best for you and your kid.
Thanks for reading.