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Q

My mum and dad have just told me that they are going to separate. I can’t believe it. They have always seemed really happy. I thought they were good friends too? They said to me that they are still going to be a “parenting team” whatever that means! But they don’t love each other anymore. They haven’t even tried to keep our family together! Why has this happened? #Shocked and confused

A

From your response it's clear that you've only just learnt about this. You need to know that you are responding in a really normal way to this significant loss- shock, disbelief and maybe a bit of anger. All of these feelings are okay.

Separation and divorce is one of the most difficult situations a young person can go through. During separation and divorce, family members go through many emotions and changes. It's very hard for young people and it takes time to make sense of what is happening.

When you are a teenager, it is also really hard to make sense of adult intimate relationships. What you are feeling is the loss of your family as it was. It sounds like your folks are really keen for you to know that they still want to help you to feel secure in knowing that they're going to work hard at being good parents to you. It is their love relationship that has finished, not their parenting relationship or their love for you.

One of the things that really helps in this time when you don’t understand things is to ask as many questions as you need. Your folks may not be able to answer all of them, but it might be good for you to make a list of all the questions you would like answered.

If you feel that big overwhelming feelings keep sticking around, then it might be good for you to talk to a trusted adult, like a school counsellor or teacher about your thoughts and feelings.

You can also look at the following links which can help:

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separation and divorce family