The decision to separate (or divorce) is not easy, and the thing is even more complicated when we have children. One of the first doubts and concerns that arise in these situations is how and when to inform the children. Parents want the best for them, to ensure their well-being, so in the event of divorce, the ideal is to start right from the beginning, telling it in the best way. Today we review some aspects to consider and we tell you how to do this depending on the age of the children.
Preparing to speak with them
Deal with a breakup is a complex process, so before communicated to our children the first thing is to make sure that we have the well-crafted topic. This does not mean that you have to have it passed, but at least if has processed, meditated and accepted what is happening. This will cause that when speaking with them we send security and stability, both very important aspects to help you to better manage the impact of the news.
If you still do not feel able to, have not finished accept the change that will produce or if you are very affected / a, wait a while before talking to your son: is preferable to invest time in “locate yourself you” that rush and convey our discomfort.
You’re ready / to? The ideal is to have a conversation first we, as parents, to specify and determine what and how is it we are going to say. In this way we guarantee that the content will be consistent on both sides and avoid possible confrontations with the kids. The more closed let the issue before talking to them, better.
Our children may not be our cloth of tears nor our figure of comfort, on the contrary: are the parents who must ensure the emotional stability to them and serve them to guide and support.
To make it you are going to say you can be helpful before test (for example between the two, or solo) before the mirror, so we can hear what we say. And it is that we sometimes think what to listen out loud don’t sound as well as we imagined, or are not as enlightening as we would like. A “trick” to develop the content is that you do the following question: what I am saying conveys calm, security and solves them doubts, or suggests negative emotions (towards the other parent)?
Aspects to take into account
While each case has its particular characteristics and taking into account that there are situations extreme (that are not what we are discussing here), there are a number of aspects that are generally recommended in dealing with this situation:
- Ideally, both parents are present: a conversation in the family where the display unit, despite the news that we are going to give, it is important.
- Make clear that what is being dissolved is the relationship of the couple, formed by mum and Dad in his role of adults within a relationship, not our role as parents, which will remain intact. I.e., we should convey that the decision does not affect the love we have to them.
- It is also very important to make it clear that they are not responsible for the breakdown.
- The information has to adapt to the age of the child, explaining only those things that can really understand and using a language adapted to their capacities. (On this specific aspect you will find more information on other specific section.)
- “Tell him” is not a talk one day. Obviously there will be a moment to give the news, but is possible that over time doubts arise them to the small, appear fears or questions: must always respond to these issues, with calm and understanding.
- It is essential to resolve the major doubts and unknowns that tend to demonstrate the kids: with who are going to live, how we operate, when they will be with each one of the parents…
- It may be positive convey that decision is not the result of an outburst, but it is something very thoughtful and that it has not turned back. With this we avoid that unfounded hopes they have or they cling to the idea that you can undo, which would complicate their coping.
- We must not involve children in the details of the rupture: this belongs to the sphere of adults and do not report any benefit for the kids, on the contrary, what we get is that they will polarize and reject one of the two parents.
- In relation to the previous point: avoid pointing blame, responsibility… or victims. Again, that is a subject of adults, couple.
- He is not tell them the harsh reality, but not sell them a sweetened image of divorce, type “Everything will follow equal” or “you not going to change anything, as you’ll see,” because it is not real. The truth is that it will change your life, and everyone, and that maybe that at first it cost us slightly adapt, but we will do everything possible to come out well.
- Cautiously, without “selling false expectations” as I said before, could be interesting highlight the potential benefits of the new situation.
- Encourage them to express their doubts, fears, thoughts on the matter, and help you to express how they feel: should understand that nothing happens by feeling bad or have negative such as fear or anger emotions.
- Ask them (depending on age) things, habits and activities they would like to keep or have with each parent.
When what we communicate to children?
There is a standard pattern or specific time requirements, since this depends on each case. However it is recommended, in general, do so sufficiently in advance for the child you time to process and assimilate what is going to happen / is happening. How much time are we talking? Influence factors such as age, already I will discuss in the following section, but generally we are talking about two or three weeks until the parent that will change of address does.
Within this period of time the child can go assuming the impact of the news, can resolve your concerns and accompany you and guide you in the process, hence it is important to give them a margin between the receipt of the information and which becomes effective the change in status.
What seems clear is that if they are already changing things at home and we do not talk with them, not please note, we are contributing to fears and insecurities are generated.
How to talk with children about the divorce depending on their age
As said before, what we say specifically how we do it should be adapted to the age and abilities of the child.
Preschool age (less than five years)
With children in this age range information that we transmit must be simple, clear, short and concrete: with this age do not have capacity to process too complex, extensive, or loaded with details explanations. It should be:
- Inform you of which parent will be the change of domicile
- Since they do not have a clear conception of time, enter which days will see dad or MOM can be confused. It is preferable to be more specific and explain what will do with each of us, for example who’s going to go to bed, who’s going to take a bath, who usually pick you Cole…
- If it is possible, that the child know when before the new home of the parent who leaves and convey that this is also their home. For this last, if you have your own bedroom, is interesting to that he collaborate on, has there toys and decoration that contributes some of his stuff to make it “yours”.
Children between six and eight years
They already have capacity to develop ideas and complex concepts, for which it is usual to make more questions about how it will be change and how will be impacted in their day to day.
- We answer your questions and make it clear that separation is not “his fault” (at this age, it is possible that they take responsibility for this and should make it clear this point).
- Be more specific in what we told him: how to make things to important dates like your birthday or Christmas, who is going to carry out certain activities, etc.
- For this last can make a calendar that will be scoring what they are going to do and for whom, having a reference.
Children between nine and twelve years
- At this age they have capacity to understand that divorce is not for them, that are not the “guilty”, but should insist on it and make it very clear.
- They are also able to view and understand that divorce can have positive aspects (fewer conflicts at home, for example): we can highlight them when we speak with them.
- It is possible to try to take sides for one of the two parents, so it is convenient to not point out the mistakes of the other parent or the negative aspects.
Before the divorce or separation, it is essential to keep informed to our children to promote a healthy adaptation. It is possible that we think that perhaps they are too young to understand it and that is why we avoid talking, but we have already seen that from an early age it is possible, and indeed advisable, to talk to them. Stay calm, dispel your doubts or fears, and provide information about what changes will produce in their lives are the keys to manage this situation. Mood.