While I haven’t gone through a divorce myself, my parents went through one when I was younger and I recall being totally confused by the whole process; I didn’t know what was going on or why. Getting a divorce isn’t easy for any member of the party, and while telling your child may be hard, it is something that cannot be avoided.
I have partnered up with Howells Solicitors’ divorce team to look at the best ways to approach telling your children about the new changes that will be going ahead within the family, while reassuring them that they are still loved by both members of the relationship.
Tell Them Together
When I was younger, I never took sides with my parents after the divorce. However, it is common for children to hear one side of the story and to blame the other parent. By telling your children together, it shows a united front and shows that no parent is worse than the other. It will also show that you’re both still civil and there won’t be much conflict between you both (even if this isn’t the case).
Telling your children together stops anything being said that you may not want mentioned, or even worse, any lies. If you cannot tell them together, then communicate beforehand to ensure you both know what will be said in the discussion.
Tell the Truth
The least that you can do throughout this process would be to tell your child the truth and nothing less. Your children won’t want to hear anything bad said about the other parent, so there isn’t any point in lying to protect yourself. This can be damaging to your relationship with your child and upset them even more.
You may not want to share every single detail with your children, but you want them to understand the process as much as they possible can. By telling the truth, they will be able to ask questions and share their feelings more.
Explain That There Will Be Changes
No matter how much denial you are in, there will be changes for your child and it will impact their life big time, no matter how old. It is important to acknowledge this when you tell them and not completely brush it under the table by saying everything will stay the same.
Mention everything that may change over the next few weeks including how it may affect them at school, as well as their home life and living arrangements. Parents should also take this opportunity to mention everything that will remain the same, as children often don’t get on well with change.
Tell Them You Love Them
One of the points that probably doesn’t even need mentioning is to remind your children just how much you love them. As a mother, it is hard not to do this most days anyway, but to remind your children that they are a production of love is always reassuring. Remind them that both you and your ex-partner will still be there to support them throughout every milestone.
Listen to Them
Children, especially those that are younger, may have a lot of questions and it is important to answer these questions rather than avoiding them. The process isn’t just about telling your children about the change but supporting them throughout the difficult time, and it is important to listen to their worries and feelings.
Once the news has been shared with your children, sit back and listen to everything that they may have to say about the situation and comfort them in the best way possible. You should encourage your children to share their feelings and help them communicate exactly what they’re thinking.
For more information about all aspects of divorce and family law, speak to experienced divorce solicitors at Howells.
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Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.