What do you say when kids ask “Why are you getting a divorce?”
Is the whole truth always the best answer? Often we forget that children want and need to be protected from the private lives of the parents they love and look up to.
Because of hurt or anger, or in an effort to protect the relationship between a parent and the child or children, a parent may try to shift any blame away from them.
Sometimes the whole truth may be too much for the children to handle. In some cases, it may be necessary.
Concentrate on and balance the importance of the following:
- Honesty with the children.
- Minimizing the stress children may feel from separation.
- Keeping the children out of adult conflict and out of the middle of disputes between the parents.
- Having parents who will be positive role models in the children’s lives.
- Maintaining the dignity of each parent in the children’s eyes.
- Maintaining the children’s respect for each of the parents.
- Helping the children through the transition of separation and divorce.
The importance of having the children know that you are together on this decision and that you are not divorcing them is tantamount. Love is a wonderful word, and showing the children how they are loved by both of you will always be comforting to them.
The first conversation will probably be short and follow up questions will be coming. But details of why, aren’t always necessary. Instead, maintaining the images of trust and respect that the children have in each parent is be more comforting during this transition. Knowing that some or most parts of their lives will remain the same, such as, there will be always meals on the table, friends to play with, family to spend holidays with, and love to go around, will keep the comfortable feelings children look for.