Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

4.16 - If Only…

4.16 - If Only…

The next video is called, “If Only…”, and it provides an example of how your children might feel about your separation or divorce.


Henry: Hi, I’m Henry. I’m in grade 7. My parents separated a year ago.

It’s a big deal when parents separate  – no matter how old you are. You still have a mom and dad, but you lose the way things were in your family.

Some kids don’t see or talk to one of their parents every day anymore. Like me, I only talk to my dad a few times a week and I only seem him on weekends. It’s a big loss for me. Other kids go back and forth between their mom’s home and their dad’s home.

I can understand what separation means now. But I still have a hard time accepting the changes to my family. Mostly I’m okay, but sometimes I really miss the way things used to be.

Sometimes I feel guilty and blame myself. There’s this voice that goes off inside me saying, If only.

If only I hadn't behaved in this way or that way – it wouldn’t have happened.

If only I hadn’t done this or that – it wouldn’t have happened.

If only – my parents wouldn’t have separated.

If only – my parents would get back together again and things would be the way they were.

But I learned that when your parents separate it’s normal to feel sad. When I hear myself saying, If only… I try to tell myself: That’s the sadness talking.

Then I tell myself: It’s not my fault. I’m not to blame. I didn’t cause the separation. It’s a decision my parents made.

Try this. Next time that voice in your head goes, If only this or that or whatever, tell yourself: I didn’t cause the separation. It’s not my fault.

This kind of talking to yourself can be really helpful.