Children's Worst Fears

When I first heard that Mom and Dad were separating, I was scared that if they loved each other before, and now they don't, they might stop loving me too. But they reminded me they loved me and would be there to look after me.

    During a separation, children want to know:
  • Mom and Dad will continue to love me.
  • Mom and Dad will stop fighting.
  • BOTH Mom and Dad will be here in my life.
  • If I can't have that, at least one of my parents will be here in my life.

Children of different ages have different responses to their parents' separation. A lot of this may sound familiar to those of us with parents who separated when we were kids.

In general, when parents separate,

  • Pre-schoolers focus on security. They wonder: "who will take care of me?"
  • Elementary school children show depression and/or anger.
  • Junior high school students ask: "why, what is going on?"
  • High school students question whether long-term commitment exists in relationships.

Guiding Your Child Through the Separation Process