It might be hard to determine the perfect way to explain the divorce to your children. Assuming that both parents are interested in looking out for the best interests of their child, the best thing to do is often to find a neutral explanation. It should be one that does not harm the child or destroy any relationships.
A few examples of this type of explanation are:
- Using the word “we” in your explanation.
- Find a way to not blame the other parent or show them in a bad light.
- A safe explanation that does not cause the child distress or emotional trauma.
Here are some examples of explanations that may lead to anxiety for your child:
- “You father and I are not getting along and are getting a divorce.” This may lead to the child fearing that if they do not get along with their parents, they too will be left.
- “Your mother and I do not love each other anymore.” Your child may wonder if there is a chance that you could stop loving them too.
Even with neutral explanations, there still may be a certain level of anxiety. For this reason, it is very important to reassure your child that your relationship with them is a different kind of relationship than the one you shared with your ex.
Many have found that the best way to broadly describe a divorce is to discuss it using the terms “husband” and “wife” and the roles they play. These terms will naturally help your child understand that the ending of a marriage is a separate event and that the family will still be a family, just in a different way.
Attorney Ronald Johnston is passionate about keeping the family functioning as a unit following the divorce. Click here to view some resources to help you get through this difficult time.