Ask Dr Sarah: “My Parents Are Getting A Divorce And I Don’t Know How To Feel”

"I don't know who to talk to."

Do you have a personal problem that you need advice on? KISS is here to help, with Dr Sarah, a clinical child psychologist specialising in adolescent issues.

Hi, so my parents are getting divorced. I don’t know how to feel and I don’t know who to talk to about it.

Anon 15

Dr Sarah says: “Separation and divorce can bring a range of feelings including guilt (is it something I did?), anger, betrayal and worry about the future. For some people it comes as a kind of relief when their parents decide to separate if the relationship has obviously not been going well and there is arguing and tension in the house. For others, it can come as a complete shock and your world can be turned upside down as you realise that things were not what they seemed.

“It is good to talk to someone impartial outside your family about how you’re feeling. Friends and family can often take sides in a divorce and you want this to be about your needs rather than your parents’ relationship. Your school guidance counsellor might be a good starting point. Jigsaw have a fantastic website and there’s a great section on ‘Coping with parental separation’. You can talk online to one of their staff at any time, and once normal services resume, you can arrange a face-to-face session if necessary.

There are many online resources for teens whose parents are separating/divorcing, but a lot of them are aimed at UK or American teens, so just take what is relevant to you. Tusla, the family agency, has an online guide for parents of teens, but you could get a lot out of it as well. If you find that all this continues to get you down, talk to your parents and ask for a referral to meet with a psychologist/counsellor specialising in this area. Your GP can refer you or your parents can find someone on the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) website.”

Check out more questions answered by Dr Sarah here.

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