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"What if my parents ask me to choose between them?"

Hey Terra,

My parents have been separated for about 4 years now but have not yet finalized anything about whether or not they are going to get a divorce. Dad is going back to home country to finalize the divorce. How do I cope after the divorce has been finalized? What if they ask us who wants to stay with who? I love both of them very much and if I choose one of them, the other might feel (I don't know what).

Waiting patiently for your reply...



Dear Anxious,

This is a very difficult situation for you to be in and I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. Your parents, I'm sure, are suffering too. Of course you "love both of them very much" and it sounds like you are, naturally, feeling torn because of the stress they are experiencing.

Before you get yourself even more anxious about all the "what ifs" I would strongly suggest that you and your mom and dad have a serious conversation in which you talk to them (as calmly as possible) about your concerns about the future of the family. You sound like a very mature and articulate person and it seems to me that your parents need to know how you feel about what's going on. Be as honest with them as you were with me and let them know how worried and conflicted you feel.

Hopefully they will listen to you with compassion and respect and give you the reassurances you need that even though they are dissolving their marriage, they will still remain actively and lovingly involved in your life.

Children of divorce need support and there are many places you can get it. The first place I would suggest you start is with your school counselor. Also, you might want to check out this site:


It's one of many Internet resources for teens dealing with divorce.

The most important thing for you to remember, is that there are many teens who have gone through this family crisis and they have survived. The best way to insure that you will come through the other side of this in a healthy way is for you to remember that your feelings matter. Expressing how you feel (and those feelings will change) to a safe and caring adult, will make things easier for you.

I wish you well and please, write to me any time.

In friendship,


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