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Dealing with Divorce and Separation: A Guide for Teens

     Sometimes parents find that they can no longer live together anymore. This is when separation and divorce occur. The following is a description of some of the things that you should expect to experience when your parents split up.

What is Divorce?

     A divorce happens after a husband and wife decide they can't live together anymore and no longer want to be married. They agree to sign legal papers that make them each single again and allow them to marry other people if they desire.

     Although that may sound simple, it's not easy for a husband and wife to decide to end a marriage. Often they spend a long time trying to solve problems before deciding to divorce. But sometimes, they just can't fix the problems and decide that a divorce is the best solution. Sometimes both parents want to divorce, and sometimes one wants to and the other one doesn't. Usually, both parents are disappointed that their marriage can't last, even if one wants a divorce more than the other.

     Many kids don't want their parents to divorce. Some kids have mixed feelings about it, especially if they knew their parents weren't happy together. Some kids may even feel relieved when parents divorce, especially if there's been a lot of fighting between parents during the marriage.

     It's really important for kids to know that just because parents divorce each other, they're not divorcing their kids. Some kids think that if their parents are divorcing, it means their moms and dads will want to leave them, too.

     Although it's true that the kid of a divorced couple usually lives with only one parent most of the time, even the parent who lives somewhere else is still that kid's mom or dad - forever. That will never change.

     Divorce and separation of your parents is very traumatic. For you, it raises many concerns and perhaps worries about your own sense of security, that, rather than your parent's future happiness, is important to you. You may question:

* What if they both leave me?
* What is it that I did wrong?
* Did I cause the divorce?
* Now what's going to happen to me?

     For many teens, the divorce of their parents marks a turning point in their lives, whether it's happened in the past or is currently happening. Divorce is a serious subject: about half the marriages in the United States today end in divorce. And although it's troubling to know that so many couples can't work out their differences, it's important to remember a few things. You are not alone, and you can deal with this.

     It's common for teens to think that their parents' divorce is somehow their fault, but nothing could be further from the truth. Some teens may wonder if they could have helped to prevent the split. Others may wish they had prevented arguments by cooperating more within the family. But separation and divorce are a result of a couple's problems with each other, not with their kids. The decisions adults make about divorce are their own.

Why do Parents Divorce?
     There are many reasons why parents divorce. They may include serious problems like alcoholism or abuse, but often couples divorce because they can no longer live together in harmony. One parent may have changed in some ways, and the other could not adapt. Some couples may have simply drifted apart over time. Others find that they no longer love each other as they once did.

Related Links
Your Feelings
Life Changes
Loss Of Family
Life Differences
A Parent's Change
Tips To Make Divorce Easier
Positive Life After Divorce