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When parents separate or divorce

It can be rough on the whole family when parents split up. You don’t have to go through it alone.

Girl sitting on train texting mum that she is staying at dad's house tonight

There are lots of reasons why parents may split up…

Many parents choose to split up because of issues within their relationship.

  • Sometimes it will be one parent wanting to leave the relationship - other times the decision will be agreed upon by both parents
  • Parents might choose to live apart for a while – then they may decide to live apart permanently
  • If they are legally married, they could choose to get divorced

Remember that it’s their choice - it’s never your fault. And it’s not up to you to try and fix things between them.

It’s ok to feel…

When parents split up it can be a lot to deal with!

It might bring up some of the following emotions:

Sadness that your family is changing

Worry that things are changing or uncertain

Anger that your parents couldn’t work things out

Fear that you may not see one parent as much or at all

Relief if your parents were fighting or things felt tense

Confusion around why your parents are splitting

Loneliness if you can’t talk about it with anyone

Grief because your family is going to be different

It can help to prepare for some changes ahead

Not everyone will go through the same changes, but here are some things you might want to ask your parents about:

  • Living arrangements: you may primarily live with one parent or spend equal time with each
  • Family time: you might not see one or both parents as often
  • School: if you move house, you might need to change schools
  • Different routines: e.g. one parent drops you off at school and the other parent picks you up

How to deal

It can take time to adjust – and there’s no rush!

In the meantime, there are things you can try that might help you cope and make sense of things:

Don’t bottle things up

Share your feelings with people you trust 

Focus on your goals

Have something to look forward to in the future

Keep doing the things you enjoy

 Take regular breaks from worrying

Talk about it

Share your worries and frustrations with your parents, if you can

Ask questions

It’s ok to be curious about what’s happening

Keep up routines

Hanging with friends, sports, homework

It’s ok if you’re not sure how to feel - just try and let someone know what’s going on for you and get support if you need it

You're not alone

If you're struggling with this issue or anything at all...

Try calling a Kids Helpline counsellor if you want to talk about what’s happening for you. We will listen and support you!

Give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 19/07/2018

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