Children worrying about their parents’ divorce or separation dramatically increased last year, according to ChildLine in Scotland.
NSPCC Scotland, which runs the ChildLine service, reported that they gave almost 600 counselling sessions to children about the issue in 2012-13 – a rise of 171 per cent.
A child affected said she felt “stuck in the middle” and like she had to “make everyone else happy all the time”.
NSPCC Scotland said the figures revealed the “huge impact” of difficult family relationships.
ChildLine Service Manager, Susan Dobson, said there were many family issues raised by children: “Some of these children need somewhere to vent, but for many they’re facing a really difficult time at home and are desperate for reassurance and a safe space to share their fears.”
One unnamed child, under the age of eleven, contacted the organisation and said: “When I spend time with my Mum I know that my Dad feels down and then when I go to see my Dad then my Mum will feel down.
“I find it really difficult to talk to them about it because I know it’s hard for them both but I hate feeling guilty all the time.”
Earlier this year, the Law Commission said couples should be allowed to make legally binding pre and post-nuptial agreements – but critics say such pledges undermine the institution.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Davies, said: “Should we not be putting our efforts into guarding and building-up the institution of marriage rather than steadily undermining it?”
Last year former cricketer Sir Ian Botham criticised the ease of divorce, saying sometimes you have to “eat humble pie and work on your marriage”.
The former England captain has admitted having an affair but is still with his wife Kath after 37 years.
He said: “The problem with the society we’ve created is that it’s so easy to walk away from marriage. It’s so simple that it’s pathetic.”
Sir Ian added: “Marriages don’t just happen. If anyone who’s been together for 37 years tells you it’s been a smooth run then they are lying.”