It’s not what you’re saying, it’s how you say it that makes the difference.

Breaking the news to your children is not easy, especially since you don’t want them to get hurt or take the news the wrong way. The conflict and pain from separation brings up so many emotions and feelings which can makes it difficult to deliver the news in a healthy way.

If as a  parent, you let your emotions get the better of you, it will certainly affect the way you tell your kids, that you and their other parent are going to divorce. If you tell your children the news with negative feelings, children may feel as if it is their fault or you and the other don’t love them. The best way to avoid this from happening is to explain as gently, compassionately and caringly as possible what is happening.

Remember you’re separating with your ex, NOT your children!

You need to make sure that they know and understand that. Ensure that you tell your children that you will never stop being their parent. You will need to explain that even though you won’t be together in the same house all the time  with your children, that you will always work together with the other parent to ensure the best possible outcomes for them.

Explain why the separation has nothing to do with them – most kids think that they must have done something or that their parents don’t love them enough to want to stay together as a family.

Even though it will be hard to adjust and you may not have all the answers you will need to point out that the decision is better for everyone and over time, things will improve. You can tell your children that they will have two  happy homes and that they will have happier parents.

Be honest about how sad  divorce can be  and let your children be free to express their feelings.  Remind them that separation is not something that is wrong or bad , it is simply the end of a relationship and although this can be upsetting, they will be okay and life will get better.

Show them that you want what’s best for them and that you are open to suggestions as to where they want to live, what schools they want to go to, who and when they want to spend time with. Parents never stop being parents and you need to remind your kids that their interests and needs are priority to you.

Never involve your children in the conflict or explain the other parent’s behavior in a negative light.

They may not be your partner any more but they are still your child’s parent – be respectful for your kids.

As much as you may be hurting you can’t make your children feel bad for the actions of the other parent – leave them out of it.

So, remember to be honest and gentle when explaining the break up your children. The relationship between you are your partner is over – not the relationship between the parents and the children.

More Information

Relationships Australia have a good document on children and separation.

You may also find our related article How to Break the News to Your Children of interest.

Finally if you need to speak with a family lawyer contact us on 02 8999 1800 to book an initial consultation.