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Grab The Meic: Dad Gone After Parents Separated

Have your parents recently split up? Are you feeling scared and confused and worried about seeing less of them? In this week’s Grab the Meic a young boy is worried about not seeing his dad after his parents relationship broke down. Here’s our advice.

Grab the Meic is your opportunity to ask us about anything that’s worrying you. We’re here to listen and give advice. If you want to #grabthemeic then check out this page, but remember this advice is not instant. If you need advice quickly then please contact the helpline.

This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg clicia yma.

Hi Meic,

My mum and dad have recently separated. I don’t know exactly what happened but they haven’t been getting on for a long time and one day things got really, really bad and both of them just exploded and had a really bad argument. Dad just packed some stuff and left. Mum is really angry with him and says that there is no way she’ll ever let him back and that she never wants to see him again.

He’s texted a couple of times since to apologise about leaving us and says he is trying to sort himself out. Me and my little sister haven’t seen him now in two weeks and I’m worried that he’ll start a new life without us, that mum will make it so difficult for him that he’ll just be happier without us all. My sister is 8 and she cries with me most days because she wants to see dad. As her big brother I’m trying to be strong but I’m really worried that we’re not going to see dad as often, or even worse that I won’t see him again. I can’t talk to mum, as she hates him. Can you help please?

Meic’s Advice

Thank you for contacting Meic about your parents arguing and your dad leaving home recently. I can imagine how very difficult it must be for you and your little sister, especially as it seemed to happen quite suddenly. It sounds as though you’re doing your very best to support your sister. She’s really lucky to have such a caring brother. Even though it all probably appears very confusing and frightening to you at the moment, I would like to re-assure you that you’re not alone in feeling this way. Many children and young people experience similar feelings when their parents argue and/or separate.

Things will change

Even though it appears that your mum and dad have separated, this might not be a permanent thing. Sometimes, parents need a break or some ‘time-out’ from a relationship in-order to work out their differences so that they can provide a loving, happy home for themselves and their children.  

You said that your father has texted to say sorry about leaving, and that your mum is still very angry with him. However, this could change if they are able to work things out as time goes on. If they do decide to split up permanently, they are likely to make this decision with yours and your little sister’s best interests in mind.

When relationships between parents break down, it can be worse for them to stay together than to separate as the conflict and unhappiness can affect both them and their children, leaving everyone unhappy. When parents do separate, it is usually very upsetting and painful for children, but, in time, and with love and support from both parents, it does get better.

I can hear that you’re worried that you will not see your dad as often, or as you say: “…. even worse that I won’t see him again”. Your dad has kept in touch with you, sending text messages to say sorry and to explain that he is trying to sort himself out. This demonstrates that he does want to keep in touch with you both, and maybe he needs some time before he sees you again.

Your options

You might want to think about letting your mum and dad know how worried and upset you’re feeling, as they might be caught up in their own feelings at the moment. I know that you think bringing up the subject with your mum will be difficult but you have a right to express your feelings and be listened to, even if it is a difficult conversation to have.

Choose a time and place where you’ll have space and privacy to talk things through. If no one feels rushed or stressed it will make things easier and try to stay calm and fair about the things that are on your mind. It can also help to write down what you want to say, so that it’s clear in your mind. You could try giving her a letter before talking to her face-to-face.

As mentioned earlier, it sounds like your dad is making an effort to keep in touch with you, which is good to hear. Contact him and try and follow the above options again so that you can express your feelings and thoughts to him.

Keep talking to your parents and let them know how you’re feeling. They both care about you and will want to make sure you and your sister are ok. Whatever happens, hopefully with time, space and a calm approach, both you and your sister will be able to keep in touch with your dad, and see him regularly.

Speak to someone else

If you feel that you need to talk to someone that isn’t your mum or dad then you could try speaking to a trusted adult at your school, a teacher or counsellor. They can help you make sense of your feelings.

There are some support services available online that might be able to help. You could try contacting Childline. They provide a free, private and confidential service for anyone up to the age of 18 years of age. You can telephone on 0800 1111, have a 1-2-1 online counselling web chat, email from a Childline inbox or talk to other young people in similar situations on their message boards. Calls to Childline are free from most phones and won’t show up on most phone bills.

This information page on divorce and separation on the Childline website might also help.

The Mix is another website that gives information, advice and emotional support to young people on the phone, 1:2:1 chat and message boards.

Things will get better

Everything is new, different and a little scary at the moment, but things will get better. Remember it’s important to keep communicating with the people who care about you.

Take care and we wish you and your family the very best.

The Meic team

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If you need to talk to someone about anything that’s bothering you, then call Meic to talk to a friendly advisor.

Meic is an information and advocacy helpline for children and young people aged 0-25 in Wales. We are open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact us free on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.