Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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When to Get Help

If the strong emotions that began when your parents first separated last for a long time, and are really getting in the way of the normal things you do in your life, ask for help. Feeling depressed, having trouble managing your anger, feeling extremely anxious, thinking about hurting yourself or escaping, or just feeling out of control are all situations that you can and should get help for.

Tell your parents, teacher, counsellor or another adult you trust that you want to talk to someone who can help you. If you aren't getting the help you think you need, keep asking until you get it.

You can call Kids Help Phone at any time, for free, anywhere in Canada. Their number is 1-800-668-6868, or visit their website at www.kidshelpphone.ca.

Q & A

I'm feeling really upset and confused about my parents separating. Is this normal?

It's natural — and entirely normal — to experience some intense emotions. You will feel better over time. There are lots of ways to help yourself feel better, and people who can help you if you need it.

If my parents divorce, will the same thing happen to me?

Many teens whose parents separate feel anxious about their own relationships in the future. But just because your parents separate doesn't mean the same thing will happen to you. What happens in your relationships will be up to you, not your parents!

Can I do anything to get my parents back together?

Most parents separate only after trying very hard to save their relationship. Some teens hope and believe that if they try to be on their very best behaviour, their parents will get back together.

However, this plan isn't likely to work, since their parents' decision to separate had nothing to do with them. Their decision to separate or divorce is usually final.