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Teen Friendships: I’m 14 and my best friend’s parents just got divorced

Published: June 27, 2013 | Last Updated: June 27, 2013 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
How much slack do you cut for a best friend who is having family problems?


Hi Irene,

I’m a 14-year-old girl with a best friend problem. Me and my best friend have been friends for a year now, and we both play video games and have nearly the same personality.

My best friend’s parents are divorced and she is not taking it good. Her father remarried another woman that my best friend did not like, and her mother remarried a man who she thinks is okay. She says that she cries every night.

I really don’t know how to handle the situation. She is really a father’s girl and will leave me behind for a trip with her father. She is really popular, too, so she is always busy. She treats friends like they don’t have feelings, but I don’t want to leave her. My mom says I should but I want to hear what you think.

Signed, Esther


Hi Esther,

You sound like a very nice friend because you are sensitive to your friend’s feelings and sympathetic to her family problems. At this time, your friend’s relationship with her father may be very important to her—more so than her relationship with her friends. That is somewhat understandable.

You are lucky to have a mother who cares about you and doesn’t like to see you hurt by someone who treats you badly. Has your friend always treated you badly or has it started or worsened after her parents’ divorce? If it is the former, I would follow your mom’s advice to a tee.

If your friend’s behavior changed after the divorce, I would cut her some slack. I would still remain friends but make her aware of how you feel when she doesn’t pay attention to you. Also, I wouldn’t count on her as an only friend. Teens (and adults!) can have more than one best friend.

I hope this helps a bit. Why don’t you talk about my response with your mom and see what you both think.

Best, Irene

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Category: Teen friendships

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  1. Amy says:

    I agree with Irene, your friend is lucky to have you. I work with teens and I can tell you divorce is one of the hardest thing a teenager can go through. It upsets their home, and their whole world. Even before the divorce, they’ve had to deal with their parents fighting. Their homes haven’t felt like safe places. After the divorce, they often have to move, sometimes there are increased financial pressures, sometimes changing schools, dealing with not seeing their parents as often, parents working longer hours, splitting holidays etc. if the parents remarry, like your friend’s have, they have to deal with step parents, changes in rules in the home, maybe moving again, step siblings, etc.
    Kids whose parents divorce often suffer from depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological problems.
    With all that your friend is experiencing in her family, it makes sense to me that she would have less time and energy for her friendships. This isn’t a reflection on you and it doesn’t mean that she cares about you any less. Teens from divorced parents feel torn in many directions. Instead of having 100% of herself to give to you, she maybe has 50% or less. If she spends weekends at her other parent’s house, they might put restrictions on her time by planning activities that they wouldn’t have if they lived together seven days a week.
    Your feelings are important to, but I think you might be getting your feelings hurt by interpreting things differently than they actually are. Perhaps you can expand your friendships while maintaining this friendship. I bet you’re way more important to your friend than you realize or that she’s able to show you. You’ve been a constant for her when the rest of her world has fallen apart. I hope this helps you understand her better. She is very lucky to have you.

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