Parent Divorce Associated with Academic Struggles in College Students

Research shows that parent divorce can have an effect on a child’s academic performance, regardless of their age. Younger children may have trouble concentrating in class and display “unexplained” emotional outbursts. Teenagers may struggle to complete assignments, especially if their parents have shared custody, homework monitoring is inconsistent, or access to school supplies depends on whose house they are staying at. Although they may live outside the home, college students are not the exception to this. Young adults may continue to experience the effects of their parents’ divorce in college through academic struggles and relationship struggles. 

How Does Divorce Affect One’s Academic Experience?

One study suggests that children of divorced parents are more likely to be held back a grade, receive poor grades, and have fewer postsecondary education goals. Possible explanations may be that children of divorced parents are more likely to experience depression or that the stress of the divorce may affect one’s motivation and self-esteem. Perceived parent support may also affect one’s decision to pursue a college career, especially if divorced parents have different values around education or one’s career path. 

Aren’t College Students Less Likely to Experience the Effects of Their Parents Divorce?

It’s a mistake to think college students are completely separated from parents. They’re still very dependent on their parents for economic support, emotional support, advice and guidance. Ideally, students would like to come and go from being dependent to being independent, and gradually have that be under their control. But divorce can take away that sense of control for many young adults.

Young adults who are on the verge of adulthood are under a lot of pressure to fit into the role society has in store for them. Young adulthood is a criticial period of establishing independence, from entering college and finding a job to starting their own family and purchasing a home, that can bring up a lot of self-doubt and pressure to succeed. Because of this, many young adults fail to launch into adulthood. 

Learning differences, mental health struggles, and high stress levels often go under the radar when families are managing complex family dynamics. When these issues are misunderstood or unaddressed, young adults may continue to face barriers to independence and struggle with reaching out to their parents as their support system.

Parent Coaching in Transitional Programs for College-Aged Students

Foundations Asheville functions as a supportive community of students, Therapists, Educators, Community Liaisons, and Mentors who collaborate to establish achievable goals for each young adult in the program, all the while working side-by-side toward realizing those goals. In addition to individualized support, parent coaching helps family members get on the same page when it comes to supporting their child’s academic and career goals. 

Many young adults struggle with communicating their needs and asking for support from their parents, as they’ve internalized narratives that they are meant to ride solo and take care of themselves. They may be used to picking and choosing the highlights of what they want to share with their parents and hiding other more personal details. While it is expected for communication styles to change between parents and their children in young adulthood, many families become disconnected from each other during this transition.

Transitional programs guide families in setting boundaries and changing their expectations as our professionals work closely with families and their young adults to determine the appropriate level of support they may need. Our parent coaching model is client-centered, that is, conversations revolve around how to empower students to succeed. This involves a degree of resolving family conflict by improving communication styles, but is also focused on how to move forward in rebuilding relationships and trust. 

Foundations Asheville Can Help 

Foundations Asheville is a program for young adults ages 18-24 who are struggling to find the motivation to launch into adulthood. Many of our students struggle with anxiety, depression, social skills, and learning difficulties. This program is committed to helping young adults develop and sharpen the skills they need to be successful in the real world. There is a focus on teaching students how to enter the workforce, develop vocational trades, and functional living skills. Foundations Asheville gives young adults the opportunity to gain confidence, find their purpose, and learn useful skills that will help them navigate through the adult years.

For more information on how to motivate your struggling young adult, call 18773187273. We can help your family today!


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