Children need to be told that their parents are separating. They don’t usually need to know the reasons why the separation occurred. When you talk to your children about separation keep it simple, and keep it centered on the basic, objective facts.
Try to keep the discussions future focussed, describe the arrangements for future parenting, and explain how you think it might make things better. Reassure them about the love of both their parents.
- Make it easy for your kids to love both parents.
- Tell them they are loved.
- Tell the truth.
- Keep it simple.
- Be civil – don’t criticise or belittle the other parent in front of the kids.
- Reassure your children that the separation has nothing to do with them.
- Stay future-focused.
Things to avoid
Children are usually very loyal and trusting so it is important to look at the ways in which you behave with them to make sure you are not abusing their loyalty and trust. Here are some of the subtle ways in which parents can take advantage of their children.
‘Messenger’ – using your children as messengers between the two of you teaches children that adults cannot talk honestly or directly to each other.
‘I Spy’ – asking a child to report on the other parent is destructive – it is using a child for your own ends.
‘Your father is an idiot’/’Your mother is stupid’ – name-calling and anger between parents has a destructive effect on children.
‘Disneyland Daddy’/’Mummy Santa’ – when visits are used just to give the child a good time, or outings and gifts take the place of normal parenting.
‘I still love him, but he doesn’t love me’ ‘I want to keep the house for the kids, but she wants to sell it’ – this puts pressure on your children to take sides.
‘You can go if you like … but we are going on a picnic’ – don’t set up competing activities, it spoils children’s pleasure in being with either parent.
If you need family law advice, Wiltshire Family Law can help. We offer a free initial consultation and have a highly trained, caring and compassionate team of family lawyers ready to assist you. You can contact us confidentially on 13 20 30.
Source: Family Relationships Online