6 Crucial Messages When Telling Your Kids About Divorce
By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
It’s no surprise that divorce brings up deep insecurities in our children. They can be frightened and unsure about what the future will bring. That’s why it’s wise for both Mom and Dad to tell the children together.
Talk in advance about your mutual message, one without blame or disrespect toward either parent. Do not share adult information with your kids, even teens. They can’t grasp the emotional and psychological challenges you are facing. It’s hard enough for you as an adult. Don’t impose that burden on your kids. They are not your confidants. They are the children you are raising to be happy, responsible, mature adults.
It’s crucial, when having the tough “break-the-divorce-news” conversation, to include these 6 key messages:
- THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Children of all ages tend to blame themselves when parents are upset. It’s essential to let them know they are innocent and not to blame on any level, even if you’ve been fighting over the kids!
- MOM AND DAD WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR PARENTS. Kids fear losing one or both parents in a divorce. They need reassurance that, despite divorce, we are still a family and Mom and Dad will always be your parents. This is especially important if another love partner is in the picture!
- MOM AND DAD WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. Remind your kids frequently of how much both mom and dad love them and always will, despite the divorce. Kids can harbor fears that one or both of their parents may divorce them in the future. They need your reassurance regarding this anxiety again and again.
- THIS IS ABOUT CHANGE, NOT ABOUT BLAME. Show a united front. This isn’t the time to blame their other parent for causing the divorce. Focus on all the changes that take place in life: seasons, birthdays, school grades, sports teams. Explain this is a change in the form of our family – but we are still a family nevertheless!
- YOU ARE AND ALWAYS WILL BE SAFE. Divorce can seem to shatter the world around your children. Their sense of safety and security can appear to be destroyed. They need to be reminded that this is not the case. That life will go on as normal in many ways and you are still there for them to help them adapt to any changes.
- THINGS WILL WORK OUT OKAY. Let your children know both mom and dad are working out the adult details so all will be well in the weeks, months and years ahead. Then step up and make mature, responsible, compassionate decisions on their behalf by putting yourself in their shoes and honoring their emotional and psychological needs.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a Divorce Coach, therapist, clergy or other qualified professional who will provide the guidance and support you need. Your children will thank you when they are grown.
Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About The Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love! To get her free Post-Divorce Parenting ebook, coaching services, expert interviews, programs, e-courses and other valuable resources on divorce and co-parenting, visit: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com