How to Tell Your Children About Divorce and Separation
Getting a divorce isn’t easy for any member of the party, and it may be difficult to tell your children about the family changes that are taking place. However, telling your children about divorce or separation doesn’t have to be as difficult as you may think.
There are ways to approach telling your children that will still make them feel confident and loved, and here is how:
Tell Them Together
During a divorce, it is common for a child/children to take sides and for one parent to come out of the divorce process worse than the other. By telling your children about the change together, it presents a united front, and it will show that both parents can still be civil and will stop your child getting dragged into any conflict if there is any.
If this cannot happen, then the best option would be to communicate with each other before telling the child, so that you both know what will be said at the discussion. A structured plan of what to say and what not to say will stop the absent parent from being shone in a bad light, and to avoid sadness for the child.
Tell the Truth
Your children deserve to know the truth and nothing less. This process will affect them emotionally, and there is no point in lying about what is going on, especially when it may come out in the future.
While sharing some of these details with your children may be difficult, you want it to be as easy as possible for them to understand and it is the best way to go about this. By telling them the truth, they will be able to ask questions, plus open and share their feelings more. You know your children better than anyone else, so only use simple language that they are comfortable with.
Tell Them Things Will Be Different
There is no point in denying the fact that this separation will have a big impact on your child’s life and it is important to acknowledge that and not brush it under the table. Your children won’t want to hear about all the changes, but it is important that they know how the movement will affect everyone involved.
Mention everything that may change over the next couple of weeks, whether this is in their home life or education, as the divorce may affect their results as well as living arrangements. Parents should really take this opportunity to emphasise everything that will remain the same, as children hate change.
Tell Them You Love Them
One of the simplest points: remind your child how much not just you, but your soon to be ex-partner love them. It is a reminder to tell your children that they are a production of love and that both of you will be there to support your child throughout every milestone.
Listen to Them
Children, especially those that are younger, may have a lot of questions and it is important to answer these questions rather than avoiding them. The process isn’t just about telling your children about the change, but supporting them throughout the difficult time and it is important to listen to their worries and feelings.
Once the news has been shared with your children, sit back and listen to everything that they may have to say about the situation and comfort them in the best way possible. You should encourage your children to share their feelings and help them communicate exactly what they’re thinking.
This post has been written by Karis Jones, a solicitor in the family law department at Howells Solicitors. Karis’ main area of expertise is private, and public law children matters although she has also obtained several non-Molestation orders for those that have been subjected to domestic violence. Karis also offers legal surgeries on a monthly basis at the YMCA, Huggard centre, and Women’s Aid.