Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Rights and Responsibilities

You have the right to:

  • Feel the way you feel about your parents splitting up.
  • Express your feelings.
  • Ask questions about what is going to happen and why.
  • Love and be loved by both parents.
  • Feel safe.
  • Talk to someone if you need help.
  • Not take sides.
  • Not carry messages between your parents.
  • Not hear your parents say bad things about each other.
  • Not have adult worries.

It is your responsibility to:

  • Express your feelings in a way that doesn't hurt other people or things.
  • Speak up if your parents are asking you to do things that don't feel right.
  • Ask for help if you need it.

It is your parents' responsibility to:

  • Take care of you and keep you safe even though they live apart.
  • Let you spend time with both parents and others who are important to you.
  • Listen to what you say, even if they can't always do what you want them to.
  • Answer your questions about money, where you are going to live, and so on, when you ask.
  • Talk to each other with respect in front of you.
  • Talk to each other about the things that involve you. 

Q & A

I have so many questions. How much can I ask my parents?

If there are things you need to know, ask. You have a right to ask questions about what is going to happen and why.

Do I have to take sides, or choose one parent over the other?

No, you don't. You have the right to love and be loved by both parents.

If you are feeling pressured to take sides, and you feel you are caught in the middle of your parents' problems, tell them.

What will my friends say when they find out?

Lots of teens worry about breaking the news to their friends. But separation and divorce are very common these days.

Good friends will be glad you've told them. You're still you, even though your family is changing.