The Divorce Coach: Telling your Kids about Divorce
Parenting: Tips to Help Talk to your Youngster about the Divorce
When telling children about divorce, be clear, concise, honest and don’t disclose the reason for it. Tell them that both parents love them and will continue to be an active part of their lives forever. Do not lie, or cover up by creating stories. Most children know how their parents feel about each other. They can feel tension and sense when change is imminent.
Tips to Help with the Conversation:
1. Acknowledge the unhappiness in the home, but don’t place blame.
2. Reassure them that they did nothing wrong, and this was an adult problem.
3. Answer their questions about the future, such as their care, safety, and custody. Whenever possible, use a united front, and have agreed upon answers to expected questions before telling them about the split.
4. Never, under any circumstances, for any reason, ask a child to choose between his parents.
5. Don’t bad mouth your ex-spouse in front of them, which can lead to serious behavioral problems later on.
6. Reassure them that you will always be available to them. Tell them they can call you anytime, and that you’ll see them often.
7. Don’t make empty promises — keep your commitments.
Abandoned children suffer serious emotional scars that can last a lifetime. How you both behave during marriage, and divorce, will be the children’s model for their relationships. Despite the divorce, both parents are, and will remain, their primary role models. Don’t expect the children to be happy about this. During the transition, they may isolate themselves and exhibit behavioral problems. Many people find it hard to hear that their children miss the other parent. It is best to put the kids in counseling. Therapy provides neutrality and support. They need your love and guidance now. Don’t allow them to become victims of the process.