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To Sam

My dads are divorcing

Dear sam,

i am a 12 year old girl and i live with my 2 dads and my big brother who is 17. my dads ate getting a divorce soon and me and my brother have been told we need to choose who to live with. my brother wants us to stay together so i am the one who needs to choose. i am very worrried and have turned to cutting as a coping mechanism and i dont know what to do.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When parents or carers decide to divorce it can be a confusing and unsettling time. There can be lots of reasons why adults choose to split up. But it’s really important to remember that you're not to blame. What's really important is you - and your thoughts and feelings.

Choosing who to live with can be a really difficult decision. And sometimes it can feel unfair that you've been put in that position. You have a right to always feel safe and comfortable wherever you live and it might be an idea to have a chat with your dads about how you're feeling. No matter what's happening in their marriage, your dads should still be there to love and support you.

It may help to write things down in a letter to let them know how you're feeling and leave it somewhere for them to read. Sometimes people close to us don’t always understand how their behaviour makes us feel and it’s good to tell them.

If you don't want to speak to your parents about how you’re feeling, you could talk to another adult you trust who could help you through these changes.

CAFCASS is an organisation that offers support to families that are splitting up. They have some good advice for young people on their website.

You have been so brave to talk about your experience and I understand that self-harm can be a way of coping with difficult feelings. I hear from lots of young people who harm themselves and for most people it doesn’t really help in the long-run.  Many young people try different things to distract themselves when they feel an urge to cut. This can help difficult feelings to pass for long enough so they can cope more easily. The important thing is to find a safe activity that you can do almost anywhere.

Our message boards are another great place for support and a safe place where you can talk to other young people in similar situations. It can help to know that you're not alone in this situation. And don't forget that we're always here for you and you can always talk things through with our counsellors.

Take care for now,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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