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Talking to your children about your separation

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

When separation occurs within a family, it is a tough time for you but also for your child/ren. Being used to having two parents around, and suddenly not having that security or stability can put a strain on your child’s life. So how do you explain this to your child/ren?

 

 

Preparation

If possible, it would be highly beneficial if you and your ex-partner sat down together and planned what to tell your child/ren. It is crucial that you do not argue in front of your child/ren as the mood and environment will not help towards telling your child/ren. Along with this, try not to insult or say negative things about your ex-partner in front of them, this applies at all times and not simply the separation process. Ideally, it would be better to tell your child/ren before you move out as this will give them time to adjust to the idea.

The most important points

It is crucial that you repeatedly tell your children that the separation isn’t their fault. It is common for children to feel responsible for their parents split up. Therefore, emphasise the reasons for the separation has nothing to do with them.

As well as this, remember to constantly remind them that both you and your ex-partner still loves him/her. Try to encourage questions so they can express their feelings, if possible, give the most honest answers that you can.

When explaining the separation, keep in mind the age of your child/ren. If they’re young, try to communicate with them in a child-like manner so they can understand better. If their older, they may have friends who have separated parents, therefore explain the circustances to them.

It is better to tell your child/ren if living conditions will be changing. For instance, they may have to move school or house. Try to tell them as far ahead as possible. This is a stressful time for them, so make sure you are constantly supporting them. Make sure you?re available to them, in person, on the phone and by email, when they need you.

The problems

It can sometimes be impossible to sit down with your ex-partner to explain the separation to your child/ren. If this occurs, plan what you will say to your child/ren and then tell them that you and your ex-partner are separating and that you will eventually move out. Let them know that you will be in regular contact, that you will always love them and that it is not their fault.

Again, however you feel about your ex-partner, do not bad mouth him/her. This serves no purpose, and forces your child/ren to take sides, one parent against the other, this may be seen as parental alienation.

Remember that the child/ren comes first and you both want what’s best for them. Whatever your situation, keep that uppermost in your mind.

Source: SD


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