A separation can be a temporary arrangement with a view of trying to get back together as a couple or else it can lead to the two partners deciding to separate for good.

We talk about divorce, when a married couple goes to court to officially end their marriage. This will allow them to remarry with someone else in the future if they wish so.

What about the children in all this?

For the children, as well as for the parents, a separation or a divorce is almost always painful and complicated. Parents take actions and children have to follow. Parents make decisions which have consequences on their children’s everyday lives. Often the parents are so wrapped up in their battles, their problems and their pain, that they are not very mindful of their children’s needs.

Is it my fault?

Many children of parents who have separated think that it is their fault that their parents don’t get on any more. Even if there have been arguments or discussions because of you, the adults are the only ones responsible for the decision to end their relationship and there may be multiple reasons for this that you cannot always see or fully understand.

Managing to cope with your feelings

For children, the separation of parents often comes as a shock and is almost always difficult to cope with. You can feel disappointed, guilty, sad or very angry; you can experience feelings of loss, confusion, anxiety and insecurity. Often families going through such crises don’t communicate well together: either they argue or they avoid each other. Either it’s a conflict and argument every time they meet, or each one senses that the others are suffering and don’t want to make things worse.

Each child has a right to both its parents

Normally separated parents find an arrangement to manage where their children will live: often the children will live with one parent and visit the other one regularly. Sometimes children alternate between living with the mother and the father. Whatever the chosen solution, everyone, both the parents and the children, has to get used to the comings and goings between the two homes, even though it reminds them that the family is no longer together. You have to make a break with the past and everyone has to get on with settling into new habits and new family routines, so that every member of the family can find his own place and feel confident and safe.

Step families

Separated or divorced parents can fall in love with a new partner and decide to live together. Their children have to learn to live with this new partner chosen by their father or mother. Sometimes everything goes well and everyone is happy to make a new start in a new family. Other times, it takes longer to get used to the new situation.