Let them know that they can talk to you and create time to listen.
Here are some key things to tell the child or young person about their family separating:
There are lots of reasons why some parents split up. Usually, it’s because one (or both) parent is unhappy. They might think they need to be apart to make things better. Your parents may argue and shout, but remember it is not your fault that this is happening.
When parents split up, they have to think about lots of different things, like where you will live and when you will see the parent that you don’t live with. Sometimes parents find it difficult to agree on plans for their children. They may talk to mediators (people who are trained in helping parents agree) or get advice from lawyers. If parents can’t agree, a judge or magistrate from a family court might be asked to help. A family court is very different from a criminal court where people go when they might have done something wrong.
It might take some time for everyone to get used to new ways. But most children find that things get better over time. Some children live with either their mum or dad most of the time and visit the other parent at weekends or over the holidays. Some children spend the same amount of time with each of their parents. Some children spend time with other people, like grandparents. Some children have stepfamilies. A stepfamily is when one or both of your parents live with someone who isn’t your mum or dad. They may have children too. Remember, families come in all shapes and sizes!
It can be very confusing when parents split up. You might feel sad, lonely, angry or confused. It’s normal to feel all these things. Sometimes you might feel lots of different things all at once. It’s ok to have mixed feelings, like feeling happy and sad at the same time.
If you’re angry, sad or worried, you might want to keep your feelings hidden. But sometimes it helps to talk to someone. Talk to people who are close to you. Some of them might have been through the same thing.