Dear Annie: I’m 18, and my parents recently went through a messy divorce. First my mom moved out. Then my dad moved out a month later because Mom didn’t want him living in our house. She wanted to move back in.
I have an older sister and a younger brother. Mom tried to convince us that she missed being with us. But since she moved back in, she is always on the phone or computer or out with her friends. She says it’s her time to have fun and that we’re always criticizing her. She also badmouths my father and tells me things about him that no parent should say. I’ve asked her to stop multiple times, but she won’t.
I work long hours in order to contribute to our rent and utilities. My sister and I are essentially raising our younger brother, who has been struggling in school and acting out. Mom is oblivious. I recently got into a huge argument with her about how I spend my money. We didn’t speak for two weeks because she ignored all of my attempts to talk about it. After a while, I stopped trying.
Now Mom always favors my sister in any disagreement. We used to be close, but I’ve lost all respect for her. What should I do? I seriously need some advice. – Lost Child
Dear Lost: The divorce has sent your mother over the edge. All of you are under a great deal of stress, and your brother’s problems are undoubtedly intensified by all the chaos in the home. Please talk to your father. Being divorced does not mean he has given up his obligations and responsibilities as a parent. Do not place blame. Simply start by telling Dad that your brother is having problems in school that aren’t being addressed. If you have grandparents, aunts and uncles, lean on them for emotional support when you need to. Your job may offer an employee assistance program that could help, or if you are attending school, talk to your school counselor.