It’s time to tell the kids
The end of a relationship is never easy. Telling your children that their parents are no longer going to live together and that their family, as they know it, is going to change forever, is probably one of the hardest talk a parent will ever have to have with their children.
Divorcing parents are, however increasingly becoming aware of the importance to discuss the best way to announce the news to their children and, in the process, are putting their children’s needs first.
They agree that their divorce is not their children’s divorce and that even though the parents will have to make sense of their own emotions in the process, managing those emotions is the best thing they can do for their children to minimise emotional trauma.
So, how do we tell the kids?
For many parents, the line between what is right and wrong can become very confusing when choosing to divorce, and if it certainly feels right to take the decision to go separate ways, “is it right for the children” is a question which will haunt many parents until peace has settled with their life changes.
Telling your children together and thoughtfully is the first step to cushion them from this time of hardship. Truth is, yes it’s going to rock their world, but realising that their parents are sticking together in their roles as carers, supporting them and loving them unconditionally, is what is going to make a difference for your children.
Basic common sense is really all you need. Be patient, reassure, be honest (age related) and listen, listen, listen, and most importantly, do not try to fix their hurt, sadness and anger. Just give them permission to experience their varied emotions safely and they will learn to cope with their family’s new circumstances.
There are of course many things to consider and many ways to go about it, but for the sake of this information I like to advise parents to first and foremost put themselves in their children’s shoes. You know your children better than anyone else.
Trust that you know what it is that your children need from you when hearing the news and ask yourselves if you think your children will deal better with the situation if you:
· Talk badly about each other and the situation it puts them in to witness their parents blaming and criticising each other
· Argue and fight in front of them
· Ask them to become the messenger between the 2 of you
· Act jealous because they run to the other parent for a hug
· Tell them that you are going to send them to see a therapist to address their anger or depression just because you are overwhelmed by your own emotions and should be the one to go to counselling.
Then, do not concern yourselves so much with living arrangements, financial responsibilities and all the concerns that a two household family bears and instead of thinking about what your Parenting Plan will look like, rather make a Plan to be the Parents your children need.