How do we tell the children we are getting divorced?

This issue is often a worry for parents who are separating. I outline some suggestions and tips to help.

This issue is one that understandably concerns parents who are separating and comes up in mediation regularly.  Some top tips I often share include:-

·      Plan together how, when and what will be said and what you will do afterwards.  Will you tell the children at the same time? Will you tell them together?

·      Don’t presume it will just be one conversation. Keep the first one short so the children have time to absorb what has been said.

·      Be aware your children will be watching your reactions and body language and will take direction for this to how they will manage.

·      Ask them if they would like to speak with anyone – a family member, grandparent or maybe even consider child inclusive mediation so that they have a voice in the        process (see the page on our website and separate blog about this option)

·      Remind them that you are both still their parents who love them and nothing will change that.  Repeat that reassurance regularly.

·      Make it clear to the children that you will not be asking them to take sides and that they are allowed to love you both.

·      Explain that you are sorting out the details of how family life is going to look and will share this when you know.

·      Do not share details of the divorce or financial issues with the children.

·      Emphasise that this is not their fault, but that the adults’ feelings for each other have changed or there is a problem they cannot work out.

·      Let the children know it is ok to feel sad and show their emotions, but that it will feel better and it is ok to talk to you about it.

More information on this issue can be found at Parenting through separation | Resolution We also have a list of recommended counsellors and other professionals who can work with children.

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