Tips How to Talk to a Child about Separation 

We should realize that we are referring here to young children who could not understand why their parents have to divorce. Some children have learned one way or another that parents quarrel over certain matters. Most of the time, kids might be fear their parents are fighting because of them. And if parents go on for a divorce, this will definitely lower their self esteem thinking they are the ones who has destroyed the family.

When a husband and wife decide to separate ways, it is very necessary for them to talk to their child about the matter. For sure, they know the negative impact the separation would make on their child or children. Only the uncaring parents will never feel the impact of separation to their kids. When a very small thing as a fight could harm a child, what more could it be when you’re talking about divorce. Although we can’t tell everything to the kids what’s happening, we need to talk to them to assure them that everything is going to be alright even with the situation.

Who should talk to the child? Both should. But very often the burden lies heavier on the mother. Most probably she will be the one given the custodial right on the child. We could say that talking to the child about a separation is appealing to him to accept the change as a necessary remedy to a relationship problem which otherwise would not be good for him in the future.

The kind of affection the child has developed for his parents should be the chief when talking to the child about separation. If the child has learned to love both parents then talking to him about separation would be painful. So, both should be very understanding and should keep in mind the following:

Tell the child that both of you love him and wants only the best for him. As we have indicated in previous posts, always be positive about the things that you say regarding the child’s relationship with their parents.

Avoid going into details regarding the reason or reasons of your separation in order to avoid scandal. Harsh words about your partner and vulgar language must never be heard by him.

Listen very attentively to what your child says. If he makes a suggestion or a request always respond in the affirmative and if you can’t you should say: I agree with you but… I want very much to do that but…” Outright turning down his request or rejecting his suggestion must never take place. Answer his questions in the most understanding manner.

Allow him to express his emotions but let him understand that there are hard facts everyone must accept and there are certain situation calls for some sacrifice for the greater good of everyone.

As politely as possible, let him understand that the separation has been your last recourse and that there is a great chance that things would turn out right.

Make him realize that both of you would remain friends and that both of you will help him and strive to make things easy for him.

Explain to him as clearly as possible that there is a bright future ahead.

To understand this further, we can illustrate this through a simple story. Mia’s mother could no longer bear her husband’s irresponsibility and womanizing. The relationship between husband and wife reach the breaking point when the wife discovered that her husband has a child with another woman. She filed divorce citing infidelity, irresponsibility and incompatibility as grounds. The court approved the divorce and the wife was awarded the custody of Mia.

Mia is very fond of her father and they often go to the park on weekends. She could not understand why he has to go away. Her father is always the hero and the provider of things that she wanted.

On the other, marital discord is brewing between parents. The have successfully covered their anger in front of Mia so that she will never feel bad about the situation. But since they are already at the tipping point of their relationship, coupled with infidelity divorce is their only option. If they continue to stay together, they might just hurt each other physically. Better to leave now than experience dire consequences.

So what about Mia? As parents both love their kids, they have to talk together to Mia. They can do it separately but they have to make sure not to bad-mouth each other. Mia’s mom and dad should remember that kids are always delicate and any bad mouthing will result to lifetime traumatic experience. Of course I may be talking about extremes but the fact that anything bad about the parents will have a tremendous effect on the kids should thought of all the time.