When Your Parents Beak-Up

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As family relationships change, there may be a lot of adjusting to do. Everyone affected will have their own thoughts and feelings about what is happening. People may feel anything from being upset to relief. It is not uncommon to feel angry with the person(s) who decided the family can no longer live together. However, whatever is happening between your parents does not change the way they feel about you.

Making sense of your parents breakup. Adjusting to changes in a family’s relationship structure may take a long while and a lot of negotiation. You may need to think about when is a good time to ask questions. If someone is extremely upset or emotional, it might be best to wait until you are both calm. Some things you may want to do to help you:

  • Ask your parent or parents to explain why they have decided to stop living together; 
  • Let your parents know who you would prefer to live with; 
  • Ask them not to put you in the middle of their problems by talking to you about it; 
  • Try to maintain your relationship with both of them separately; 
  • Talk to other family members about how you feel; 
  • Always remember that it’s not your fault that they are breaking up; 
  • Ask to talk to someone outside the situation like a counselor.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

Dear Auntie, My little brother is going through a lot and I want to help him.

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