Children, Families and Community

In a small community, a separation of parents can affect many people besides the children and individuals who are separating. The next diagram shows the layers of community that can support and assist children and individuals in their time of need and in the healing.

Closest to the children are the parents who are separating, followed by immediate family, extended family, traditional house, elders in the community, community members, and the whole nation.


The Emotions of Separating

Next, we're going to talk about the big mish mash of emotions that are part of separating. I've heard people say they feel half a dozen different feelings within a single hour. You may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster!


Everyone who separates from a partner experiences many different types of emotions. You may feel:

  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Difficulty coping
  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Relieved
  • Afraid
  • Out of control
  • Vulnerable

People who are separating say that they experience more than one emotion and that their emotions are unpredictable. You may feel happy and relieved in the morning, but angry and hurt in the afternoon. Most people say they feel shaky and vulnerable. Some feel alone and depressed.

Remind yourself:

  • The feelings you have are normal.
  • It will not last forever.
  • You will survive.

Sometimes parents may feel that they have failed their children, and may doubt their own worth. These emotions and difficulties are often a natural part of getting through separation. However, feelings do not cause behaviour.

We have no choice about what we feel, but we do have a choice about how we act on those feelings. We can choose to respond in ways that help the children make a positive adjustment. How you handle your own feelings and how you relate to the other parent will affect how well your children adjust to the separation.

For example: If you are aware that you are feeling depressed or angry or upset, you can choose what to do about it. Sometimes you just need to take a break, catch your breath, and get out for walk or a jog or a coffee with someone you trust. You may choose to call on a friend or relative to help with the role of parenting while you take time to deal with your emotions.