How do you break the NEWS?!
Time and time again, I am approached about resources and tips to tell your kids that you are separating. There are so many scenarios that may instigate this discussion with your kids about separation. The “situation” (let us call it that, for the lack of a better word) may be due to:
- Mummy and daddy don’t love each other anymore
- Daddy met someone else and got a better offer
- Mummy and daddy want different things
- Mummy or Daddy may in fact be a step parent that will no longer be around
- Daddy hurts mummy and it is unsafe for us to be here any longer
Whatever the reason, breaking the news to your kids will most likely be very emotional and upsetting to them (and most likely you). Depending on the ages of your kids, this “situation” is one most won’t forget and whilst most of us will move forward and adapt the day they/you tell them will most likely be pivotal, so here are a few tips:
1. Have a GAME plan!
Preparing for what you are going to tell your kids is always helpful! I am not saying that this needs to be scripted, but having a general approach and the basics of what you will tell them prior to the “REVEAL” will help everyone.
Jay Anderson an expert in our directory who is a registered Psychologist, Counsellor and Play Therapist in WA with 20 years’ experience, suggests that:
“Having a clear plan for when that is happening, and what it will mean for the kids is important (again depending on age) as well as key safety information Eg the kids will keep living with mum in our house and dad will catch up with you on the weekends. Or some families decide that the kids will live with dad one week and with mum the other week, so we are going to see how that goes for all of us.”
2. Keep the discussion AGE appropriate!
So, let me first suggest making your “REVEAL” about the news age appropriate. Keeping things SIMPLE when kids are young say 2-10 is probably a good start in my experience. My kids were 3 and 6 when we separated and delivered the news to our kids. We explored many options ie. Delivering the news somewhere away from home vs in the home etc However, in the end we opted for delivering the news in our home as it was where the kids felt safest. You know your kids best, so the place and timing of your delivery will be best selected by you and the other parent.
3. Remember that this news is for your KIDS..
During such an emotional period it is often challenging to rein in your emotions of your Mr/Mrs Ex and focus on the kids. Separation can often bring out the worst in both people involved, but focussing on a little time with JUST the kids’ best interest at hand will be so beneficial to them! So, hang the boxing gloves up, take a deep breath and remember that the kids need you to keep yourself together and NOT lose your SH#T!
Keep in mind all of these decisions you are making are adult ones, and they need to know how their world will continue after this news has been presented (amongst many other questions I am sure they will have!).
We spoke to Davina Donovan a Psychologist to teenage kids (listed in our directory) about the top tips to revealing the news about separation to teens:
- Be honest and transparent with your kids – they need to know what is happening and when
- You cannot protect them from everything. They will experience difficult emotions and this is OK. It is not about avoiding emotions but helping them to navigate through them
- You must consider your kids and their welfare – but you cannot be controlled by this. Doing everything for your kids could put you in a less than optimal position which in turn impacts your kids. Balance your welfare with theirs.’
Davina suggest that “it is less about the ‘what you do’ but the ‘how you do it’ that counts.”
Apart from the above items, here are a few resources that may also help or visit us for our FREE HOTLINKS Check list for Separation which includes more FREE parenting resource channels:
- The Separation Exchange check list of MUST see sites for anyone going through Separation
- Family Relationships: Children and Separation booklet
- How to support kids through separation by Life Works
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is general information only and is not provided as a substitute for legal/professional advice. If you have a legal/financial/ any other issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or professional before making a decision about your options or personal situation. TheSeparationExchange.com cannot provide legal/professional advice.
ABOUT the Blogger:
My name is Anju, after going through a “surprise” separation and divorce was a rebirth which awakened me!
After a period of sadness and struggle, revealed a person who was forced to sort her shi# out and find the strength needed to raise 2 young kids without a partner! And so, a new journey began with new dreams: www.TheSeparationExchange.com
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