Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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When your parents split up, you’ll probably have to deal with all kinds of new situations. This section gives you some strategies for dealing with them.

You'll find a list of your rights and responsibilities, your parents' responsibilities, as well as tips on the following things:

  • how and when to speak up
  • what to do if you're caught in the middle
  • what to do if there’s violence in your home
  • what to do in some other situations

Q & R

What will my friends say when they find out about my parents splitting up?

Lots of teens worry about breaking the news to their friends. Some feel embarrassed about what is happening.

Parents splitting-up are very common these days. In Canada, between a quarter and a third of marriages end in divorce. That means that many people have been through it themselves, and most probably know someone who has.

Good friends will be glad you've told them. They'll know that you're still you, even though your family is changing.

I have so many questions about why this has happened and what is’s going to happen in the future. How much can I ask my parents?

If there are things you need to know, ask.

You have a right to ask questions about what’s going to happen and why. Although you need to respect your parents' right to privacy, they have a responsibility to answer your questions as best they can about things that directly affect you.

Do I have to take sides, or choose one parent over the other?

No, you don't. You have the right to love and be loved by both parents.

If you’re feeling pressured to take sides and feel caught in the middle of your parents' problems, tell them. They might be so caught up in their own problems that they don't even know they are doing it, and once they do, they might stop.