Ask Jigsaw: Parents separated

Ask Jigsaw: Parents separated

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

My Mam and Dad separated recently and my Dad moved out. I am really angry with him for loads of different reasons. I have access with him on Saturday’s and its really awkward, we sit in McDonald’s and he asks really awkward questions about school and my Mam, I have told my Mam that I don’t want to go anymore and she says i have to go or else she will get in trouble with the court.

Its really getting to me because i think neither of them care about how i am feeling, they just care about the court and doing what they think they have to do, I done think anyone really cares about me and its getting me down

– Louise

Hi Louise,

When parents are separated it can bring up lots of emotions for people. We may feel relief, sadness, anger or fear about what will happen. It means change in terms of practical arrangements and often can have an impact on our relationships with parents.

Jigsaw Clinician
It is really important that you are able to talk about how you feel with regards your family situation.

Expressing anger when parents separated

It sounds like your relationship with your dad has been particularly hard recently. It’s good that you are able to acknowledge your feelings of anger. But, it is also important to be able to express and manage anger so that it doesn’t cause problems for you. I wonder whether you have been able to explain to your Dad how you feel? Sometimes having this type of conversation can be difficult. You might like to write how you feel in a letter and either give this to him as a starting point or use it to make sense of your thoughts before talking to him.

You have said that you find your access visits really awkward. It sounds like they have fallen in to a pattern where your dad asks questions that you don’t want to answer. Is there a way that you could take more control of these conversations? You could try to focus on things that you feel more comfortable talking about. If there are things that you would rather not discuss with your dad, it is OK to tell him this.


I hear how hard you find these visits and your frustration that you have to do them despite not wanting to. As well as trying to make the visits a little more comfortable, it is important to look after yourself afterwards. Try to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. Plan to have a little treat or reward afterwards, so that you don’t carry the negativity you feel after a visit with your dad through the rest of the day.

You also mention that you feel that no one cares about you which can be a very lonely feeling. If you can step back from the hurt you feel, and I know this is difficult, the fact that your parents went to court to try to maintain a relationship with you means that you are important to them, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. It is really important that you are able to talk about how you feel with regards to your family situation. Have a think about whether there is an adult in your life that you trust who you could talk to about things. You may also like to ask your mam to look into whether there is a Rainbows programme running in your area. Rainbows provide support to young people following parental loss or when parents have separated, connecting them to other people who have had similar experiences.

Take care,

Clare, Jigsaw Clinician


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