Families Change
Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Feeling Better

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There are lots of things you can do to help yourself feel better.

Most importantly, keep doing things you like to do. Try to keep up with your regular activities, and don’t isolate yourself. See your friends. Read books. Listen to music. Play with your dog or cat. Take long walks. It's not just OK to have some fun during hard times, it's very important!

Make sure that you take time for yourself everyday! It's easy to forget to do nice things for yourself when life gets stressful, even though times of stress are when you need it the most.

Here are some other suggestions:

Talk about it

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to talk. Talking about your feelings—not just once, but often—almost always makes you feel better. It releases tension and can help you put things into perspective so they don't feel so overwhelming.

  • Tell your parents how you feel. If they’re too upset to be helpful, try again another time. Talk to someone else in the meantime.
  • If you have brothers or sisters, talk to them. Since they're going through the same thing you are, they'll probably understand how you are feeling.
  • Talk to a close friend, especially someone whose parents have divorced or separated.
  • Talk to a relative like an aunt, uncle, or another adult you know and trust, like the parent of a close friend.
  • Sometimes talking to someone who doesn't know your family very well—like a teacher or school counselor—can be very useful because he or she can be objective.

Write about it 

Try writing about your feelings in a journal or diary. You can write as often as you want and say whatever you want to say. Over time, you will be able to see the progress you are making as you adjust to the changes and face the challenges.

It's OK to cry 

Crying can make you feel better because it lets the feelings out instead of keeping them bottled up inside. But don't worry: if you don't feel like crying, that's OK too.


Be active! Exercise is a great way to let off steam, and being fit physically can help you feel better emotionally.

  • Walk, run, bike, skate, or swim.
  • Play basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey, or another game you like.

Do something creative

  • Write a story or poetry.
  • Write a song.
  • Draw, sculpt, or paint.
  • Dance!

Think positively

Things will get better! It’s hard at first when your parents get divorced or separate, but you will get through it. Others survive, and you will too. You might even find that there are ways your life is better than before.

Q & A

If my parents divorce, will the same thing happen to me?

Many teens whose parents split up feel anxious about their own relationships in the future. But just because your parents split up doesn't mean the same thing will happen to you. What happens in your relationships will be up to you, not your parents!

Can I do anything to get my parents back together?

Most parents split up only after trying very hard to save their relationship. Some teens hope and believe that if they try to be on their very best behaviour, their parents will get back together.

However, this plan isn't likely to work, since their parents' decision to split up had nothing to do with them. Their decision to separate or divorce is usually final.

I'm feeling really upset and confused about my parents splitting up. Is this normal?

It's natural — and entirely normal — to experience some intense emotions. You will feel better over time. There are lots of ways to help yourself feel better, and people who can help you if you need it.