Children and Young People

Below you’ll find our guide for young people, helping you understand why parents sometimes separate and what it means for you. We also have a separate page with details of our children and young people’s counselling service.

Why are my parents splitting up?
During our lives, we change as people and this can mean people start to want different things.  There are many reasons why parents decide to separate or divorce, but the most common are:

  • drifting apart or not wanting to spend time together
  • seeing things differently or arguing
  • not wanting to live in the same house

Most times, parents have tried really hard to make things better, but they can’t live together any more.

What doesn’t change is the fact that your parents love you and they will always be your mum and dad.

Who can I talk to?
You can tell your mum and dad how you are feeling.  You can also talk to your brother or sisters – they will know exactly how you are feeling.  You also may have an aunt or uncle, or grandparents who will be able to help you.

Other people
This can include your friends, or even their parents.  Maybe your favourite teacher will be able to talk to you.  You may even know someone else whose parents don’t live together anymore.

Support bodies
These people are their to help you:
Childline -  0800 1111
Get connected – 0800 096 0096
Relationships Scotland Family Mediation West – use our special email to ask any questions or call 0141 332 2731.

What if my parents split up?
While your parents are going through the difficult decision to separate or divorce, it may mean there are lots of arguments.  This will be hard for you, so you should seek help if you need it.
It may be useful for your family to try mediation.  This will help everyone discuss the situation and come up with the best solution for everyone.

For more information about what happens, and to help you understand legal terms, search through the rest of the website.  If there are still things that you would like to know, please contact us at fmwest[at]

You are not the only one
It might help you to read stories about what other young people have gone through.

Claire’s Story
Claire’s dad left a couple of years ago. She lives with her mum and sister, but they don’t see their dad. “I was glad when my dad left, which most people think is strange. He wasn’t very nice to my mum and us. He shouted a lot and was always in a bad mood. My mum is much happier since he left and so am I”.

Paul’s Story
Paul’s mum & dad separated three years ago. Paul now liveswith his mum and her new partner, who has two children.

“It used to just be me and my mum & dad. It was horrible when my dad moved out, but I did get used to it. Then, my mum’s new partner moved in with his two daughters. I hate it. I get really angry, especially when the house is really busy. I don’t like living with my mum’s partner as it makes me miss my dad more”.

“We have started to have family times, for us to talk about things, but I’m not sure it’s helping”.

Sally’s Story
Sally’s mum left home a year ago to move in with her new partner. She lives with her dad and sees her mum every few weekends.

“I was shocked and hurt when my mum told me she was leaving. They both kept trying to get me to open up and tell them how I was feeling. I couldn’t talk to them, though so I’d just listen to music in my room and that made me feel better. I talked to one of my friends when I felt I needed to, but I get sick of thinking about it. I’m doing exams at school so it’s time to move on and think about me and my future instead”.

Callum’s Story
Callum’s parents are getting divorced. He lives with his mum and brother and sees his dad every other weekend.

“When they told me they were splitting up I couldn’t believe it. I knew they’d been fighting a lot, but I was sure they would sort it out. When he left, I felt like he’d abandoned us. He has been good at keeping in touch though, and we see each other normally every two weeks, which has made me feel better”.

What about me?
When parents are splitting up, it is hard for them to always consider your feelings.  We have some quizzes for you to do which may help you understand how you are feeling.

Download Feelings Quiz

Download Future Quiz