How to tell your children you have separated

Child & Parenting Matters, Separation, Divorce, & Relationship Matters

How to tell your children you have separated

Separation and divorce can be a confusing and sometimes stressful time for children. Children are likely to remember when you told them you are separating, so it is important that it is handled the best way possible.

Work together

Ideally if it is safe to do so, you should work together with your former spouse to plan the right time to tell your children that you are separating. If you and your spouse have difficulties speaking, or there are safety issues involved, consider using a mediator or counsellor to help you with telling your children.

Be Civil

This might be challenging, but it is important that you put up a ‘united front’ and tell your children that you are committed to working together as parents. Avoid assigning blame or saying whose ‘fault’ it is, even though you might feel as though the children should know the ‘truth’. If possible, children should not be exposed to the issues arising out of separation.

Provide Reassurance

Assure your children that the breakdown of your relationship is not their fault. Children are quick to blame themselves for what they have done, or could have prevented happening.

Follow up on your children after you have told them about your separation and check in with how they are processing the news. If you have multiple children, you could have a separate conversation with each of them. Let them know they can always come to you and ask questions. Some children will have many questions and others might not talk straight away.

Remain future focussed

While it is not appropriate to provide children with specific details about your separation, be prepared to explain to your children how their lives are going to change. Tell your children what things are going to change and what things will stay the same. For example, children will want to know where they are going to live, when, and with which parent. You can be honest with your children about what you know and what you and your former spouse are still sorting out. Reassure them about things that will stay them same e.g. their school, friends, sport, and your love for them.

Telling your children you are separating is the first challenge of co-parenting. Our lawyers are able to assist you with your family law parenting and property matters during your separation. If you are going through a separation or are about to separate contact Cairns Family Law Group for advice tailored to your situation.

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