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How do I talk about separation or divorce with my children?
While it’s not always possible to do so, it’s generally helpful if both parents talk honestly and openly with the kids. Try these approaches:
Involve your ex-partner about when and where to tell the kids
Be honest and don’t make promises you can’t keep
Decide beforehand how much detail you’re going to share
Avoid judging the other parent or attributing blame
Use respectful language when talking about the other parent
Avoid involving kids in fights or arguments with your ex-partner
Some questions kids might have...
Try to think about your answers to these common questions before talking to the kids:
- Where will I live?
- Will I have to change schools?
- Will I still see relatives or friends?
- Where will the other parent be and how often will I see them?
- Is it my fault?
- Was it something I did wrong?
Helping children cope with separation or divorce
As well as being sensitive toward their feelings and offering plenty of love and support, try these suggestions:
Listen to their concerns and answer their questions honestly
It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers right away
Show respect for their feelings and tell them their feelings matter
Spend quality time with the kids individually and check in
Keep up routines as this can provide some stability for the family
Create a conflict-free space so the kids can share how they feel
Provide safe ways for them to express difficult feelings
Seek counselling support for kids to help them cope
You are not alone
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed or unsure of what to do next – going through a separation or divorce can be a painful process. Just remember, you are not alone.
Talking helps! We’re here for your kids.
No problem is too big or too small.
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