Divorce advice

Divorce Advice: How to tell children about divorce

How to tell your children about your divorce

Country and western singer, Tammy Wynette, sang a power song in 1986 telling how she tried to shelter her little boy from the pain of divorce.

Our little boy is four years old and quite a little man
So we spell out the words we don’t want him to understand
Like T.O.Y or maybe S.U.R.P.R.I.S.E
But the words we’re hiding from him now
Tear the heart right out of me.

First Tammy expresses the real pain she feels in the last line “”Tear the heart out of men.” She somehow wants to shelter her son from this brutal and gruesome pain.

But is this the answer?

Our D.I.V.O.R.C.E becomes final today
Me and little J.O.E will be goin’ away
I love you both and it will be pure H.E double L for me
Oh, I wish that we could stop this D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

In this verse she speaks about the separation that is HELL for her. So powerful are the feels that she expresses the wish to stop the D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

Watch him smile, he thinks it Christmas
Or his 5th Birthay
And he thinks C.U.S.O.T.D.Y spells fun or play
I spell out all the hurtin’ words
And turn my head when I speak
‘Cause I can’t spell a way this hurt
That’s drippin’ down my cheek.

Interestingly the child simply thinks that everything that is happening is fun like Christmas or a birthday celebration. She continue to spell the words to protect him from the hurt, but is this right?

What will happen when he finally grasp what has transpired? Which brings me to the question how do you tell children that you are going to be divorced from their mother or father

One popular talk show host form London, Vannessa Feltz, said she simply told her children to “sit down she has something tell you.” She then dropped news.

It so shocked her children that they are still affected by it even now they are young adults. They ask her never to deliver any kind of news like that to her again.

Here are some ideas:

1.       Speak to your spouse (if is possible) and agree upon a plan. Remember even if you both have problems you want the best for the children.

2.       Agree on who will say what. Agree that you will not argue, blame or fight during this meeting.

3.       Have a plan or make a list of points you will address, it is even best to write out what you want to say, as this can be emotional that you may break down and say things you shouldn’t. If your children

4.       Timing is important. There is never good time to tell anyone something like this, however you will want to wait until after exams to tell your child something like this.

5.       Tell them the reasons for the divorce but keep it simple and avoid details. How much details will depend on the ages of the children. Admit that mistakes have been made on both sides. Again avoid the blame game.

6.       Assure them that it is not their fault. It is totally the responsibility of you as parents

7.       Let them know you still love them and would be their and available for them always

8.       If they get upset and angry, allow them a chance to vent, but hug and reassure them. If they leave the room give them some space and both of you can go them after a while. Let them know that it is OK to cry.

9.       Encourage them not to do anything radical like hurting themselves of running away.

10.   Explain how exactly  their lives would change after the divorce. Who they will be living with and when and how they will see the other parent.

11.   Always remain calm and in control. They need someone strong in this moment of crisis.

12.   In form any significant person in your child’s life about he divorce. E.g. teachers, child minders, close friends etc. This will help them to cope with any unusually behaviour that may show up in the child while he/she is processing the challenges and changes they are going through

13.   Ask them how they feel about it

14.   Give them space and time to adjust to the news. It is hard enough as for you to deal with the issue, it will be very confusing and upsetting for your children. They will take time – a very long time – to adjust to it.

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