One of the toughest parts of getting divorced is telling the children. Though the divorce will probably be best for the kids in the long run, finding out your parents are splitting up can be scary and confusing. Your whole world can feel like it has been turned upside-down.
A recent blog post from a psychologist discussed talking to your kids about your divorce; specifically, the most common questions children ask about it. Here are six of those questions, along with answers suggested by the psychologist:
1. Is it my fault? Reassure your children that they did not cause the divorce in any way. Neither parent is getting “divorced” from the kids.
2. Will you get back together someday? If you are not going through a trial separation, make it clear that the divorce will be final.
3. Will you ever leave me? Again, answer that you and your ex will always be your child’s parents and will always love them.
4. What will I tell my friends? Remind them that many of their friends likely have divorced parents too, and that their parents’ divorce is not a reflection on the children.
5. Dad says I can do that at his house. Why can’t I do that here? While it is best that parents continue to present a united front, sometimes one parent has fewer rules than the other. If you are the stricter parent, tell your child that you make the rules in your house, and your ex makes the rules at theirs.
6. Will you both come to my birthday party? Children usually want both parents to be there for holidays and special events, but not every divorced couple can do this. If celebrating with your ex is impossible, offer to have separate parties for your child and/or arrange for the child to split the day with each parent.
Talking about your divorce with your children can be difficult, but it is vital to explain what is going on and reassure the kids that they will continue to be safe and loved.