How to Tell Your Children You Are Getting a Divorce
What Children Want to Know but are Afraid to Ask
Children find it uncomfortable talking to their parents about divorce. They fear being disloyal to a parent so avoidance of the situation keeps them “mum”.
This is a time that parents do need to show unity in their parental role. Find a time, a quiet place (I found parks were good places for private conversations) with both parents present. The first words to children should be:” mom and dad no longer want to be together, but we will always love you”. Once this assurance is made, the conversation may flow.
It should be an open discussion, allowing them to ask the questions that will be of most concern: “Are we going to have to move?”, “Will we have to leave our house?”, “Can we keep our dog, our cat?”, “Can we still see Grandpa and Grandma?”. These are the primary concerns of children: Will things stay the same, be secure and normal?
Transition and change are their biggest fears. Once children feel safe, comfortable, and confident that both parents will always be there for them, they will ask questions. Peer groups for children of divorce are excellent resources for parents and children. In this setting, children feel they are not alone, not different from other children, and, feel freer to express emotions. Many schools provide such groups or can refer parents to outside sources.
Written By: Patricia Bubash, Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Missouri
About the Author:
Patricia Bubash received her Masters in Counseling from the University of Missouri, St.Louis. Beyond this degree, she did post graduate work in testing and assessment. Mrs. Bubash worked more than thirty years in the educational setting as a teacher, counselor, parent advocate, presenting workshops at the community college. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Stephen Minister, and is the author of Successful Second Marriages which was written as a result of her work with parents, children (even grandparents!) experiencing divorce. She submits to several websites, is a frequent guest on blogs, radio and talk shows.
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