This month we’re looking at the impact of parental separation / divorce on teenagers. When parents separate every member of the family ( including the wider family ) experiences a sense of loss. There are some distinct phases which include denial, anger, blame, sadness, reality testing, acceptance and moving forward. No two people experience them at the same time or in the same way as these stages aren’t linear but people dart between them.
However, in our work with young people, there are themes and feelings that recur. Here we’ve created 3 monologues that capture some of the feelings that one teen might experience as their parents separate. The characters are entirely fictional but the feelings and thoughts are a blend of many different conversations we have had with many different young people.
I don’t know why people keep asking me if I’m ok with what’s going on with Mum and Dad. One I don’t want to talk about private stuff and two there’s nothing to say. Dad has ever been around that much especially during the week so it’s no big deal that I see a bit less of him at the week end. Anyway I’d rather be out with Sam and Jess.
The only thing is I wish Mum didn’t want me and Alex to go round to Dad’s new flat. I know he doesn’t like living there so it’s not as if he’s going to be there for long. It’s much better that he keeps coming back to the house to see us. Don’t know why Mum has to disappear the minute he turns up though. It’s my birthday next month and I know Mum’s going to ask me what I want to do. Well that’s easy. The four of us go out for dinner – that’s what we always do on birthdays.
I hate them. They pretend to care but it’s all about them.
I don’t see why Mum gets so upset that I don’t tell her where I am. Why would she care? She never listens to me when I am at home. I did feel bad for her at first. But it’s all about her - how hard things are for her. How lonely she is. How sad she is. If I try to say how I’m feeling she just cries and tells me how guilty she feels. Sometimes I just want to explode with frustration – sometimes I do. Then I feel bad – but why should I? She and dad were always yelling at each other when he was at home. Or not talking to each other for days. Now she knows what it’s like.
They’ve wrecked everything and I’ll never forgive them. At least when I’m out with my mates I don’t have to hear it all the time- and if I have a few drinks I can forget about the whole mess those two have made my life.
I’m not saying everything’s amazing but I’m starting to realise how awkward it was so much of the time when Dad lived with us. Mum and Dad always seemed so angry with each other. Now at least I’m not just waiting for the next big argument and then not knowing what to say to either of them when they could hardly look at each other. Me and Mum even went out last week and had a good time- and that’s not just because she got me some decent trainers. And she’s stopped asking me how Dad is when we go out for dinner with him. We can have a bit of a laugh with Dad and he actually listens when I’m telling him about stuff that’s going on for me. Mum and Dad actually email each other rather than getting me and Alex to give messages. Probably because we kept ‘forgetting’. Anyway I don’t care why – as long as they sort their stuff out. And let me and Alex have our say.