When a family member leaves it can be hard to adjust. It is important to remember that although your parents are not together as a couple anymore they are still Mum and Dad and love you just the same. It will be difficult at first and you may miss the parent that has left, but there are things you can do to make it easier as long as Mum and Dad agree that you should stay in contact.
- Write, telephone and e-mail between visits
- Keep a diary and write in it when you feel lonely. You can always share your thoughts and feelings when you see the other parent
- Talk to your parents and ask if you can spend some time together as a family. This might not always be possible so respect their feelings and try to understand if this would be too difficult to them
- Make sure that Mum and Dad know about parent's evenings, school events and extra-curricular activities so that they can both support you, but talk to them to let them know that the other parent is coming
- If you have your own room at the other parent's house, put up posters or try to personalise it some other way. Having two rooms has to be a bonus so make it feel like home!
Sometimes parents don't agree on contact because they are upset or can't agree with each other. If this happens they will probably go to court to ask the judge to decide on arrangements for contact. A Cafcass Officer (court welfare officer) will be asked to speak to you and your parents and report to the court. You will probably not need to go to court, only your parents will need to go, and the Cafcass Officer will tell the judge what your wishes are.
If you are worried that you might lose contact with your Mum or Dad the following might help:
- Find out when you will be visiting the other parent and how often. Write, telephone or e-mail between visits
- Memorise a telephone number to memory. Ask a trusted friend to keep this for you in a safe place
- Make sure that you are clear about your views. Tell the Cafcass officer what you want and not what you think either of your parents wants you to say. As a young person you have rights independent of their feelings
- If your brothers or sisters want different things respect their feelings and don't try and influence their decisions. Similarly don't let them pressurise you - you all have a right to your own wants and needs
- Don't get involved in your parents arguments. It might be hard to stay out of it, but if you see one parent getting upset, telling you things about what the other has done, showing you court documents or trying to turn you against them, tell them firmly that you understand they are hurt but any problems are between them as adults and should not involve you
- If things at home get really bad and you can't cope with the pressure tell someone. Tell a trusted adult, teacher or at the very least your Cafcass officer. You shouldn't be put into a situation where one parent is pressurising you to take sides