Talking to your children about divorce is not something any parent wants to do. It can be emotional, upsetting and, for some families, devastating to have to discuss divorce. Here are some things to think about when it comes to how to talk to your children about divorce and separation.
How To Talk To Your Children About Divorce & Separation
1. Think About Where & How To Break The News
Children often remember where and when they were told that their parents were getting a divorce. Consider how you want to tell your children about your divorce. In the comfort of their own home is probably best, or somewhere they associate with feeling safe and loved.
2. Tell All Your Children Together
Sometimes it can seem easier to tell your older child or children and keep the news from the younger ones, or ones you feel may not cope as well with the news.
However, it’s often better to be upfront with all your children at the same time. It can create difficulties if they find out later that their siblings were told before them.
3. Make Sure It’s Happening
Don’t tell your children if you aren’t completely sure about whether you will actually get separated and/or divorced.
Make sure that you and your partner have finally decided that this is the right course of action for you before you even think about talking to your children about divorce.
4. Think Like Your Child
You know your children best. You can probably make an educated guess at how they will respond.
Think about how they might react and how you will deal with their reaction and emotions.
5. Acknowledge & Accept Their Feelings
After you’ve told your children about your divorce, acknowledge their feelings. They may be sad, angry, hurt, or upset, or all of the above.
Don’t tell them how to feel or how not to feel. Just as you’ve had to work through your emotions coming to the decision to divorce, so too will your child.
6. Answer Their Questions
If your child has questions about the divorce, try to be as honest as you can with your answers.
Don’t ignore them or be deliberately vague with your answers. If you can tell them the truth in a non-confrontational way, do so. But keep it simple and on their level of understanding. You don’t need to go into elaborate detail but be as honest as you can.
7. Avoid The Blame Game
Blaming your ex is never a good idea. No matter what the circumstances of the separation and divorce, if your child is to have an ongoing relationship with both parents, blame is not going to help either of you.
Try and keep things calm and neutral when it comes to the decisions behind your divorce. Children can often feel caught in the middle when parents play the blame game and it can be tough for kids to deal with.
8. Have A Support System
A support system is a must have – not just for you, but for your children as well.
Make sure they have trusted adults they can talk to if they don’t want to talk to you or your ex. Teachers, grandparents, other family members or close friends can provide that extra level of support for your child during this tricky time.
9. Don’t Drag The Divorce Out
Once you’ve told your children you’re getting a divorce, try not to drag it out. Family mediation is an effective and affordable alternative to handling your separation and divorce through the courts.
Move On Mediation can help you move on from your separation or divorce quickly and simply.
Avoid the stress and expense by choosing family mediation instead.
Call Ian today on 0418 928 448 or get in touch online now for a confidential and obligation-free chat now.
For a free guide on what to be aware of when considering your children’s needs during the separation process, see this guide from Relationships Australia.