• what are feelings?
  • it helps to talk
  • it's ok to have feelings
  • got questions?
  • what's on?

parents separating

Your parents might not be getting on very well at the moment. They could be arguing a lot and not being very nice to each other. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to split up. Adults often have arguments which they sort out. Sometimes though, they really can't agree, so they may split up or divorce.

If you think your parents are splitting up, it's really important to remember it's not your fault. Lots of kids blame themselves, but nothing you've done has caused your parents to split up. They are having problems with each other, not you.

Your parents still love you

Your parents are probably going through a difficult time. They may be feeling lots of mixed emotions; confused, angry, sad, worried, disappointed or hurt, and this can be very stressful for everyone.

Remember that your parents still love you, even though it might not feel like it sometimes.

Why do parents separate?

Adults separate for lots of reasons. People change and they may now want different things. If your mum and dad don't want the same things now, this can cause arguments. Always remember that they still want what's best for you.

It's normal for you to be upset when your parents separate, and you might even feel caught in the middle. Its OK to love both your parents, you do not have to choose one or the other. Your parents will always be your mum and dad even if they do split up.

Talk to your parents

If your parents split up or divorce, things are likely not to be the same as before. Parents can be so busy worrying about other things and sorting everything out, they forget to ask you how you are feeling. Make the first move and tell your parents exactly how you are feeling.

It's also OK to ask your mum and dad what is happening.

Talk to your friends

This can be a very painful time and it's OK to cry and be upset. It's not best, however, to bottle your feelings up. Tell your friends what is happening so they can support you. There is no need to be embarrassed, you are certainly not alone. In fact you might be surprised at how many other kids' parents have split up.

You will have to adjust to your new situation and the pain and sadness may go on for a little while. Don't expect to feel better too quickly, these things take time but hang in there as it will get better!

Your parents may make new friends and eventually start seeing someone new. You might be jealous at first and this is completely normal. Keep talking to your mum and dad about how you are feeling - this will help.

You may not like the idea of having to share your mum or dad with someone new. It's not unusual for this to feel strange. Make an effort to be polite to your parents new friends; they could turn out to be really nice.

For more information about different families, see our page on step-families.

It might also help to talk to a Kidsline Buddy about how you're feeling. We're here to listen.
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