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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 your mom and your 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, 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 says, 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.