One of the most difficult conversations you will ever have with your child is that of telling him about your separation and divorce. Having this delicate conversation requires thoughtful, planned preparation and seeking advice from the experts. So now that you and your spouse have made this painful decision, how to tell your children you are getting a divorce?
1. Prepare them
Dr. Justin Coulson with a PhD in psychology recommends telling children about the split before it actually happens. He writes that, “In one study, it was found that 80 percent of preschool kids were not told that their parents were separating.” You can imagine the devastating long-lasting impact this could have on a child and the potential for feelings of abandonment later in life.
2. Reassure them of your love
Children need to hear you say that you love them and then be reassured that they are not to blame for the divorce. Children often believe that they are in some way responsible for their parents unhappiness and their imaginations can cause them to believe that there was something they did or could have done to change the course of events.
3. Do not blame or speak critically of the other parent
Your children may feel that they are expected to choose sides. If they hear your complaints about one of their parents, they may feel compelled to make judgments and pick a side. They love you both and need to feel that they have both of their parents love and support. Hearing negative criticisms of either parent could alienate them and lead to feelings of insecurity.
4. Do not argue or share intimate details
There is such a thing as too much information. Your children do not need to know the reasons for your divorce. Exposing your spouse’s flaws will only cause greater anxiety and feelings of sadness for your child. Arguments should never be had in front of your children. Resist the urge to react if antagonised and defer sensitive conversations to a time when you can speak privately with your spouse, away from the children.
Going through a divorce is a difficult time for the whole family. At Gillard Family Lawyers, we are here to help your family navigate this process. Please contact us to see how we can help.