Divorce-how to tell the children

Putting your feelings aside for the sake of your children

Divorce is not great for anyone, but particularly not for the children, who may blame themselves for the situation. If parents are able to put their own needs to one side and focus on their children it may be possible to limit the damage.

The most difficult thing may be to co-operate with each other and work out what narrative you are going to offer and maintain, without blaming either party. Explain to the children that it is something that you as parents need to sort out and they do not need to worry. Reassurance is key.

A private space is necessary to break the news, but somewhere that the children are comfortable, so home is best. Think about the timing and what’s going on for the children.

Meeting and addressing your children’s expectations

The children need to know that they are still a family and always will be. The children will want to know the details of where they are going to live and when they are going to see the most important adults in their lives, so a plan needs to be agreed and achievable.

Make sure you talk to the other important adults in your children’s lives; the school and nursey staff can be useful allies and may be there to reassure them when you are not.

Try hard to maintain normal routines for the children, make sure that promises are kept. No matter how difficult this is for the adults.

It is a very emotional time for the children and they may feel torn, they may even feel responsible and try to act as parent, if they feel that you are not coping with the situation. Try to find your emotional support elsewhere, your family and friends are the best place to start, don’t rely on your children for support.

Adjusting to a new routine

Once separate living arrangements are settled and parents start to share the parenting of the children, try hard not to be critical of your ex-partner, that person is still your child’s parent and they love them.

Make sure your children are okay. Talking about feelings is often difficult; a car journey is often a good place to get a child to open up. If you are worried about the impact there are services available, Talk to your GP to see what’s on offer locally.

Look to the future

Remember that it is the beginning of something new. It is change and uncertainty and it is stressful and difficult. However, divorce is not uncommon and your children will know friends and peers who have been in the same position. Identify for them that they are not different to many others in their age group and try to find examples of families who are further along the process and who are happily settled into a new way of family life.

Family Law is our specialty, contact the team if Divorce is an issue.

Charlotte Warren -Solicitor