The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide has been running a series of Weekly Divorce Tips. This week’s tip offers some simple advice for a complex problem- How to tell your children that you are getting divorced.
Telling your children about divorce is challenging, but essential. According to Gary Neuman, a psychotherapist and divorce expert who appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show a few weeks ago, “the way children are told about their family breaking up is a seminal moment that no child forgets.”So, how do your tell your children about divorce without scaring them for life? Gary Neuman recommends you do it by following these basic rules:
•“Both parents should be present to tell the children together - with the main message being, you, the children, are still our priority.
•It should not take more than 45 seconds.
•Practice what you’re going to say, before blurting out things that can hurt forever.
•Never disparage the other parent, because it makes your child feel guilty about loving them.”
I offer a few more thoughts:
- Your children are not divorcing your spouse, only you are. If your spouse is bad, imperfect, or completely flawed, let the children discover that themselves. You do not have to flag your spouse’s faults for them.
- Do not make the children choose sides. To the contrary, children should be encouraged to have a relationship with both parents.
- Tell the children, particularly if they are young and may not understand, that nothing they did caused the divorce.
- Re-assure them that both parents love them.
Do you have any tips? Please share your thoughts and comments.