How will my children feel?

It is important to recognise that every child is different and no one child will have exactly the same experience of family separation. However, children will often feel:

  • confused
  • frightened
  • sad
  • hurt
  • anxious
  • let down
  • angry
  • guilty 
  • grief
  • isolated
  • over-looked
  • insecure

Some children adapt fairly well to the new situation, whereas others will struggle. Remember, though, that how well a child adjusts is really down to you. Simply saying 'everything will be fine' and not paying attention to how your child feels can be very damaging.


Children are very good at hiding their feelings. Especially if they think it will upset you to show them. So try to be sensitive. Listen to what they are saying and think about what they're not saying.


Family separation is a massive life change. Think about what you are dealing with. Then think about what your children are having to deal with. You have the power to help your children to adjust to life in a separated family. Look out for the signs of distress and seek help if you need it so that your children will be able to grow up healthy and happy.


For detailed information about children's reactions at different ages, please click the links below:


Babies and pre-verbal children

Children aged 2 to 5

Children aged 6 to 8

Children aged 9 to 11


Older children and teens