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Gosforth Central Middle School

Parental Separation and Divorce

When parents separate or divorce, it can be challenging for children; many children cope in different ways and may start displaying changes in their behaviour due to this traumatic experience. If you are experiencing a separation or divorce, it is important to remember the impact it will have on your child, so it is essential to support them through this challenging time.

Children can be adept at manipulation and sometimes use these skills to play parents off against each other by seeking to please the parent they are with, or even trying to make their parents love each other, assuming responsibility for putting the family back together again.

It is common for a child to develop behavioural issues during or after a separation and divorce. Many parents may try to make up for the absence of the other parent by letting children behave as they want. This may lead to a lack of discipline in which the child has no behavioural boundaries.

Additionally, divorce may also cause a child to feel:

  • Generalised anxiety about their unstable living arrangements.
  • Depression about the traumatic experience they have faced.
  • Pressure to deal with additional responsibilities at home.
  • Guilt which can arise if they are self-blaming for what has happened.
  • Loneliness as they may not be spending as much time with both parents as they did before.
  • Anger towards their parents for breaking up the family.

Separation may involve bad feelings between the parents and their families. Children can pick up on this, which may make them confused or unhappy.

To support your child during a separation or divorce, there are a number of organisations that can help and provide guidance.

GCMS work with Place2Be. Information on their service is available on the school website here and advice regarding parental separation and divorce can be found on their website at Parenting Smart.

Additional guidance and support can be found using the links below:

UK Government Guidance

Anna Freud




Young Minds


Asian Single Network CIC

Additional Useful Links