Select your location for up-to-date news and information in your local area My Area

The effects of divorce and separation on young people

As a young person experiencing a separation, you might experience a range of emotions.


• sadness
• confusion
• grief

Getting used to the changes in your home can be difficult, and you may notice changes in yours and your parent’s emotions and behaviours during this time such as:

1. Struggling at school

As you are trying to get used to your new home environment, you may find it difficult to focus on your school work.

2. Not wanting to go out and see friends

Sometimes, parental divorce or separation can make you have feelings of insecurity and may make you wonder if you’re the only person who is experiencing parental divorce or separation. This might make you not want to go out and spend time with others. This is not the case though as there will be many other young people in the same position as you.

3. Feeling emotional

Feelings of loss, anger, confusion, anxiety, and many others, can be felt due to the change in your family. You may feel overwhelmed and sensitive.

Your anger may be directed at your parents, yourself, your friends, and others.


4. Feeling guilty

You may  wonder why a divorce is happening in your family and worry that you may have done something wrong. It’s important to talk to your parents about this.

5. Health problems

Separation can be stressful and dealing with these issues can cause emotional and physical difficulties.

You may experience an increased frequency of illnesses such as coughs, colds or sickness bugs. Worry or stress may cause a lack of sleep and feelings of low mood can also worsen your emotional and physical wellbeing.

It’s important to speak to a health professional if you’re feeling low or depressed, this could be your GP or school nurse.

Tips to share with your parents to help you

  • remind your child that they are loved by both parents
  • be honest and appropriate when talking to your child about your separation
  • avoid blame and don’t share any negative feelings around your separation with your child
  • keep up routines such as going to school and specific mealtimes
  • let your child or young person know they can talk about their feelings with you – explain that it’s okay to be sad, confused, or angry
  • listen more than you speak – answering questions will help them to open up

how to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

Cross Hatch

Find help in your local area

Find help in your local area

Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

Find help in your local area