Ending a relationship is never easy especially when children are involved. Author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE shares her advice on talking to children about a break-up in Red’s 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You File for Divorce.
When should I tell our children?
Don’t tell children you’re planning on getting divorced if you’re just thinking about it and haven’t reached a decision yet but if they do ask you answer as honestly as is age appropriate. You want to keep the channels of communication open between you and ensure your children know they can trust you because if you do get divorced they need to able to talk to you about how they feel and believe you when you tell them how much you both love them and that the divorce isn’t their fault.
However angry, upset and justified you feel do not run down your partner in front of your child because this is very harmful to their self-image.
How will our kids cope if we do spilt?
Nearly all parents completely underestimate how much a child will blame themselves when their parents split up. Telling them it’s not their fault on a daily basis throughout the breakup and for a long time afterwards will help to reassure them. Don’t over play it, but with gentle words and touches tell them how much they are loved by both of you.
If you have a new partner it is best to wait at least six month before introducing them because a marriage ending is like a bereavement for a child and it takes time for them to adjust. Allow them to talk to about how feel and listen calmly to what they have to say.
Sarah Beeson’s MBE is a former health visitor and author of parenting guide Happy Baby, Happy Family and health visiting memoir Our Country Nurse published by HarperCollins available in paperback, eBook and audiobook.