Divorce – what to tell the kids

As promised, following on from the first part of Gee’s Story I’ve put together some tips for dealing with divorce and separation when there are kids involved…

relationship failure problem sad

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Human relationships don’t always work – fact.

So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation and the time has come for you to separate from your partner?

Tough enough for the two of you, not to mention logistically, you’ll most likely have assets to divide which can be messy but the most important and difficult part of your separation is your children.

Whether you have children together, a blended family, grown up kids; whatever the dynamics, you need to ensure that the kids have enough information to make informed choices about where they want to live etc.

I’ve spent many an hour with young adults whose parents have split and I’ve used the information they’ve given me to create my top tips for parents…

1.       Don’t lie -kids are far from stupid and they will always find out in the end; and when they do, you’ll be the bad guy even if you thought you were doing the right thing

2.       Don’t make things complicated – as I mentioned earlier, it’s complicated enough for you but the kids only need the facts which affect them. Think carefully about what you share, Do the kids really need to know that you’re going to have to change deeds and documents?

3.       Don’t over-share personal detailsDo I need to add to this? The last thing kids are interested in is their parents love lives. A breakdown of any relationship will often be due to many factors on both sides and kids don’t need to be dragged into this.

4.       Don’t talk the other person down – leading on from my last point, one of the most common moans that I hear from young adults is that they hate listening to one parent slagging the other one off. Not a good look parents!!

5.       Do listen – as hard as it may be for you to listen to your kids telling you that they love both of you and really can’t decide where to live or where to spend time; listen to what they are saying. Kids often change their mind as they grow. It may be just as hard to hear your kids saying they don’t want to spend time with your ex and you’ll probably be the one to have to communicate that. If kids feel listened to and understood, it’s the first step to sorting things out.

6.       Do have a life – I mean a life outside of your children. As a newly separated parent, it’s important that you look after your own well-being so that you can give back to your kids. Join a club or start a hobby, even take time to read a book or watch a favourite film. Try not isolate yourself from the World and don’t use the kids as an excuse.

Finally, I’d like to point out that kids get over separation far more quickly than adults do. What upsets them is the aftermath. This is because young adults have not yet developed the part of their brain which creates empathy, so they are largely still focused on themselves. They will relate any event to how it affects them.

“I get that Mum and Dad have split up but why do they have to keep arguing and going on about it”

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard statements like this, I’d be a rich woman!

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