Telling your Children about the Divorce – Do’s and Don’ts
Marital divorce – and familial separation – is hard on both parents and their children. Before proceeding with divorce, and separating from one another, it is important that parents clearly explain to their children the situation they are in, the changes that will come, and other things they should expect over the long-term.
If possible, before talking to your children, sit down with your partner to discuss the best way to share the decision with them.
Agree on the reason to give for divorce that is age appropriate
Reassure your child/children that they are not the cause for the separation or divorce.
Share basic information about the changes that may happen. For example:
Who will be moving out
Where will they be moving out to
What will happen to their lives
Speak in an age-appropriate manner for your children to understand.
Reassure your child/children that they will still be able to see their mummy or daddy
Hear what your child has to say about the divorce or separation, and empathise with their anxieties
Most importantly, reassure your child/children that both parents will always love them and support them even though they are no longer together.
Attend family counselling with your spouse and the children to make the transition smoother for you and your children.
Do not talk negatively about the other parent as your child may get hurt or feel conflicted.
Do not discuss financial or personal issues with your children as they are not responsible for such issues.
Do not lie to your children. Some information can be omitted or simplified but you should always be truthful about the changes that may happen in the house to help your child/children better adapt to the changes.
Do not make false promises to your children (E.g. That you are going to get back together; That they will be able to stay with the parent that they want).
Do not use your child to retrieve information concerning what the other parent has said.
Do not use your child to relay messages to the other parent.