Talking to your children about a topic as heavy as divorce can seem almost impossible. It?s a very touchy subject that is very likely going to leave them feeling sad and vulnerable. Unfortunately, there?s no way around it. You have to tell them the truth. Because of their age, they might not be ready for the whole truth just yet. They will often require a modified version of the story in order for it to settle in properly. Here are some ways you can talk to your child about divorce.
1.???Keep it simple
Children aren?t yet acquainted with the many things we take for granted in the adult world. They don?t understand how two people can suddenly not want to be with each other anymore. It?s even harder for them to comprehend how their parents could ever split up. Sometimes it can be a lack of understanding, while other times it might be a case of denial. First and foremost, it depends on their age.
Whatever the case, you will want to keep it pretty simple for them to digest. Don?t include all the messy details that lead to the divorce, instead try to give them the bare-bones explanation. Above all else, make sure you and your spouse decide to do it together. Put aside your differences to communicate with your child, this way neither party can claim that the other slandered them.
Explain to them that you came to a mutual agreement and that you do not wish to live with each other anymore. If your child is particularly young, it might be wise to explain it in a way that benefits them. Say things like: ?you will have two homes where you will be loved?. Older kids might have already anticipated this, as their friends might have been in similar situations.
2.???Let them know that they can express themselves
Children often worry about the consequences of the divorce or separation. They are worried about whether or not it will change their day to day lives. Some of their concerns might remain unspoken. Children might be thinking about some questions but they rarely have the nerve to actually be forward with them.
Help encourage them with opening up about their emotions. Address some of the concerns you think they might have. If one parent isn’t going to be constantly near them, assure your child that they still love them. Issues regarding moving or changing schools should be explicitly addressed. Children might be oblivious to the many issues in life, but they aren’t unaware of the importance of money. Reassure them regarding your financial situationif they ask you point blank about potential money problems.
3.???Remind them that it?s not their fault
In your child?s mind, the blame for the divorce won?t immediately shift toward either parent. In fact, they usually aim that blame inwards. It?s not at all uncommon that kids blame themselves for things that affect their parents? relationship. You need to keep in mind that their emotions are fragile and remind them that it?s not their fault.
In Australia, it?s not uncommon to see parents consult legal assistance in order to discuss custody and alimony payments. Sometimes you will have to bring your child in while discussing things with respectable family solicitors Sydney. This is an important part of a divorce settlement, but it can be quite traumatic for your child. It?s going to be difficult to explain to them what is happening, but you should do your best to dissuade them from thinking that their input will somehow harm any party. The last thing you need is your child feeling guilty after a trip to the mediator.
4.???Tell them that the future is bright
For children of different ages, a divorce can seem like the end of the world. They feel like at least one of their parents might not love them and that life is about to take a turn for the worst. This can damage their self-esteem and make them prone to depression. Ultimately, it?s your job to reassure them that things are going to be ok.
Nobody likes seeing their loved ones separate, but children find this especially hard to take. They aren?t yet acclimated to any kind of loss so they aren?t familiar with moving on. Help them realize that they won?t be sad forever and that these feelings will pass. It?s important that no matter what happens, you stay a team?for the sake of your kid.
This is a discussion you will want to put off from having with your child. Unfortunately, it?s something that has to be done in a clean and swift manner. Dancing around the issue is only going to lead to more problems down the road. You want to be as direct as you possibly can with your child, while still softening the blow with some gentle language. There?s no way to make this easy, but there are quite a few ways to make it easier.
Leila Dorari is a freelance writer, self-development ambassador and an avid dog lover. She believes all people are born equal but only those dedicated and brave enough to work on themselves reach their full potential. In her spare time, you can usually find her window shopping or hiking with her furry four-legged friend.