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Tips to consider when talking to children about divorce and separation:
- If possible, both parents should be present. But if this will create tensions, have separate discussions.
- Discuss what you will say beforehand. Children benefit from hearing similar messages from both parents. Keep explanations simple.
- View things through your children’s eyes and avoid blaming each other. Children have a right to love both parents.
- Think through how you will manage your feelings in front of the children.
- Let children know how life will change, including major concerns such as how they will see each parent and where they will live. If they have questions you can’t answer, let them know that you are both working out the details.
- Children can feel responsible when their parents split up. Make it clear that the split has nothing to do with them and also that they cannot change things.
- Let children know that you understand this will be a difficult change for them, and that they can ask questions and talk about how they feel.
- Keep discussions straightforward and age-appropriate.
- Follow-up talks do not have to be formal or structured.
Some things children need to hear from their parents:
- While Mum and Dad’s feelings for each other have changed, we will never stop loving you
- We know this will be hard for you and we are sorry
- You can always love both Mum and Dad
- What has happened between Mum and Dad is not your fault
- Divorce is a grown-up problem between Mum and Dad that you cannot change
- We will always be your Mum and Dad
- You will always have a family. Instead of being a family in one home, you will have a family with Dad and a family with Mum
This is taken from Resolution’s guidance for parents. Read more helpful tips at http://www.resolution.org.uk/