Acting Out

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Sometimes teens respond to their parents' splitting up by acting out—skipping or quitting school, partying, drinking or doing drugs, or breaking the law.

Unfortunately, while this might help you escape from the situation and cover up your feelings temporarily, reality and your feelings will always come back-along with a few other problems that will just make things worse. Try to face the situation as best you can, instead of running away from it. Here's how:

  • Try to be good to yourself, and help yourself feel better.
  • Use some of the tips for dealing with specific situations, listed in Strategies.
  • Check out some of the people, books and other resources in Resources.
  • And get help if you need it.

Q & A

I'm feeling really upset and confused about my parents splitting up. Is this normal?

It's natural — and entirely normal — to experience some intense emotions. You will feel better over time. There are lots of ways to help yourself feel better, and people who can help you if you need it.

If my parents divorce, will the same thing happen to me?

Many teens whose parents split up feel anxious about their own relationships in the future. But just because your parents split up doesn't mean the same thing will happen to you. What happens in your relationships will be up to you, not your parents!

I'm feeling guilty about my parents splitting up. Was there something I did to cause it?

It's very common for teens to believe that they have somehow caused their parents to split up. But you are not the reason for your parents splitting up. Parents split up because of problems in their relationship.

It's not your fault!