Hearing that your parents are going to split up can cause a mix of emotions. You feel confused and out of control and as if you have too much to cope with.
This is a normal reaction to a difficult situation and these feelings will change over time. You may also feel sad, angry, afraid and worried about who will take care of you.
You might think that divorce only really affects very little children but when your family breaks up it can be just as hard on young people and teenagers too. Even though you are more independent of your parents and have interests and friends of your own, it is still a shock and you can still struggle to come to terms with the situation.
“When my parents split up I felt really angry but I didn’t know why. The school counsellor explained it’s okay to feel angry with your parents for separating and that the feelings would settle down after a time.” Emily, 13.
If you feel angry tell your parents and look for ways to release your anger that does not hurt others or yourself.
It is normal and in fact very healthy to feel sadness when your parent’s split up. You are experiencing loss and everybody around you will be feeling sad. These feelings may be worse at night or when you are alone but don’t be afraid to have a good cry when you need to as this is a good way to let out sad feelings.
If you feel afraid or confused about what is happening in your family, tell your parents how you feel and ask questions.
You may feel guilt when your parents divorce and think that you should have done something to change the situation. You may see one or both of your parents feeling sad, angry or lonely and feel powerless to help them. Don’t be afraid to talk about how you are feeling with your parents, a trusted friend or teacher as this will help you make sense of your feelings.
When you parents split up you can feel lost, out of control and worried about the future. This is completely normal and can be helped by talking to a friend or relative who has been through similar experiences, by writing your feelings down or even by doing some exercise or just kicking a ball around with friends
When you experience difficult things such as a change in your life and routine, it is normal to feel upset and that can include physical feelings too. You may find you lose your appetite, have trouble sleeping and feel tired and unwell. If you are worried about any of these feelings, mention it to your parents, a teacher or another relative. It’s important to let people know and will often help these feelings get better.