One of the main worries of parents who are going through a divorce is how to tell the children about what is going to happen and what to actually say to them.
Children naturally fear that they will lose one of their parents in a divorce or that their parents will abandon them. They also fear the changes and disruptions that a divorce will inevitably bring to their family and they often blame themselves.
One of the key things I ask parents to do is to sit down and to work out together the answer to this question:
- What are the key messages you want to convey to your children?
I ask them to get a piece of paper write their child’s name on it and to put it on the floor and as they step onto it imagine they are looking at the situation from the point of view and perception of their child.
Then I ask them to answer these questions through the eyes and ears of their child:
- What do you see and hear around you at the moment?
- How do you feel?
- How could Mum and Dad make you feel better – what could they do or say?
Then I ask the parents to write in this wheel 7 reassurances and guarantees that they can honestly give to their children that will help their child cope with the enormous changes that are coming.
We work on how both parents can agree on what to say before they talk to the children. This helps to avoid mixed messages which confuse, upset and really distress children greatly.
We look at the benefits of telling the children together and we work on overcoming the “blame” mentality and the feeling that it must be someone’s fault. We look at how to avoid the children feeling that they have to take sides.
We also look at taking the emotional charge out of telling the children and help each parent gain more control over their distressing feelings and emotions during this difficult moment.
It is certainly very worthwhile and positive to stop and step back from your current situation to gain clarity, direction and certainty in the decisions you are taking towards handling the difficult and painful area of divorce or separation more confidently.
Sue Atkins is an internationally recognised Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best selling books “Parenting Made Easy – How To Raise Happy Children” & “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the famous black and yellow series as well as author of the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She has just launched the 1st in her series of Parenting Made Easy apps for iPhones and iPads – The Secrets To Well Behaved Kids
Sue offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, resilient children from toddler to teen & specialises in using her “5 Step Self Esteem Solution” with families to boost long term self esteem & self confidence.
She regularly appears on the award winning flagship ITV show “This Morning”, BBC Breakfast and “The Jeremy Vine Show” on BBC Radio 2 and is the parenting expert for many BBC Radio Stations around the UK. She is a regular contributor on radio and TV and her parenting articles are published all over the world.
Sue Atkins is an internationally recognised Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker & Author. Sue is a regular contributor on radio and TV & her parenting articles are published all over the world. Sue brings her expertise on parenting and divorce to Fink Cards where she will publish two new resources to help keep the lines of communication open enabling families to navigate the divorce process more positively. www.sueatkinsparentingcoach.com
To receive her free ebooks bursting with practical tips and helpful advice from toddler to teen log on to www.theSueAtkins.com and download them instantly today.