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Separation and divorce

It's not their fault

When a relationship breaks down it is hard for the whole family. While you may think it is kinder to try and protect your children from the details, the truth is that the more they understand what is going on, the easier they will find it to cope.

If possible, have both parents there when you explain what’s going to happen and why. Try not to fight in front of them and make it clear that even though you will be living apart you will both be there for them whenever they need you. They may have mixed feelings during this time including feeling hurt, confused and unloved. You both need to be patient and understanding of their needs as well as your own.

Health Visitor says

Children often think that their parents break-up is somehow their fault and that they’ve done something wrong. They may also feel that if they do things differently in the future you may get back together. They need to understand that what’s happened is not their fault. Talking helps them understand what will be happening in their lives.

Learning to listen

Talk to your children and listen to what they have to say. How you handle the break-up is important for their wellbeing. Try to get them to talk about their feelings and involve them in making choices about the future. As well as feeling like they are losing a parent in some way, they may also be worried that they will have to move house or change schools, so tell them about what may need to happen.


Saying bad things or fighting with your partner in front of your children is only going to hurt them.


Children often think the break-up of their parents is somehow their fault.


Explain that the break-up is nothing to do with things your child may have said or done.