Children are aware that their parents’ relationship isn’t working. Dr. J. Louise Despert in Children of Divorce says, “The fact that the parents are unhappy together is the thing that primarily disturbed the children in the family, not the fact that they finally agreed to separate.” The children may, in fact, be relieved.
When you choose to tell your children that a divorce is going to happen, use a calm, accepting tone, showing them that you have adjusted to the fact that the divorce is imminent. Postpone telling them until it is for certain to avoid giving the children false hope that their parent might come back. Avoid putting your children in an ackward position by blaming the parent who left. Explain to them that s/he will still see their Dad/Mom and will still love him/her.
A great book for young children that I recommend to couples is The Dinousaurs Divorce. It tells the story of a family that goes through a divorce in a healthy way, creating two nurturing families to raise their children. And, for parents, The Good Divorce guides parents in creating a Binuclear Family to serve the best interests of their children. For more info about both books, go to my “On my Bookshelf” page under “Relationships.”
If you are contemplating or navigating a divorce and want guidance and support, give me a call at 404.518.0828. Dr. Sharman Colosetti