Page last updated at 00:05 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Children's divorce fears 'go up'

Wedding ring on a bible
Law firms say two million couples could seek advice on divorce this year

There is likely to be a sharp rise in the number of children seeking help with the pain of their parents' separations, ChildLine has warned.

The phone counselling service says more than one child a day calls the hotline because of arguments at home.

More couples are expected to contact lawyers about a divorce on Monday than at any other time.

The charity said parents should reassure their children, many of whom will be "scared and bewildered".

Financial pressures caused by the economic downturn and looming recession are likely to put further pressure on marriages.


ChildLine boss Sue Minto said: "Divorcing parents can be overwhelmed by feelings like anger, sadness, and helplessness.

"This often makes it hard to focus on the wishes and needs of scared and bewildered children whose lives are about to be turned upside down.

"Parental separation is a crisis for children as well as adults. Children suffer deeply when the adults they love fall into conflict. They are deeply upset by the hurt, pain and confusion of divorce."

Tell children you love them
Listen and comfort them
Reinforce the split is not their fault
Be as honest as possible
Try to keep the daily routine normal
Try to share childcare responsibilities
Source: NSPCC

She added they could be helped to adjust to divorce if they are told how much they are loved.

Law firms predict two million couples could seek advice about divorce this year.

Divorce lawyer James Stewart, from Manches LLP, said: "A stressful Christmas is already often the final straw for marriages in trouble.

"The double whammy of Christmas and the credit crunch will make the first full week of January one of the busiest ever."

And Relate, the UK's largest provider of relationship support, said it had seen a 59% surge in calls over the festive period.

ChildLine is run by The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

An advice guide for parents on how to help their children deal with divorce has been published on the Your Family website.

Have your been affected by issues covered in this story? Are you a divorce lawyer or relationship counsellor? Send us your comments using the form below.

Your E-mail address
Town & Country
Phone number (optional):

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Print Sponsor

New 50m appeal for Childline
22 Sep 08 |  England
Horses for divorces
23 Sep 08 |  Magazine
Your divorce questions
11 Jul 08 |  Working Lunch

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific