We have asked ITV This Morning’s parenting expert Sue Atkin’s for her top tips:
How do you tell your child you are getting divorced?
Sue says there are many factors that influence when you should tell your children about your decision to divorce. Sometimes, a child may ask you directly about what’s happening as they sense “all is not right “ and there is obvious tension in the air, so it is best to be honest. Clearly, your child may have some knowledge about the situation but you don’t want to say something that you have to take back in a short time.
- I always recommend choosing your time carefully. Never tell your children just before important events such as a birthday or a friend’s party they have been looking forward to, or a designated special day out. The best time is early in a weekend or school holiday where you are on hand to be around and on hand to answer their questions, reassure them and give them lots of hugs and cuddles if they need them.
- You must be in a “good place” yourself as if you are tearful, angry or overwhelmed your child will feel insecure and anxious and distressed.
- Give your child time to absorb what is happening.
- Tell them in a private place where they can feel free to express their emotions and ask questions. Restaurants don’t work well as they can inhibit your child’s normal reactions and avoid places that are special to them such as bedrooms or playrooms. Those are places where your children relax and feel safe and you don’t want to anchor something stressful in their memory happening there.
- It is very important that if one of your children knows, all of your children should be told. It’s too much of a burden for one child to keep this important secret alone. Also having brothers and sisters who understand what you are going through is an enormous help and emotional support at a challenging time.
- Presenting a united front with your ex.
- Remembering divorce is a process, not an event.
Sue Atkins is the Parenting Expert for ITV This Morning. She is a writer, speaker, broadcasting coach and a mum. She is the author of several best selling books on parenting: Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children” & ‘Raising Happy Children for Dummies’ one in the famous black and yellow series. Sue is also the author of the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy MP3s and CDs and Workbooks and ‘The Can Do Journal for Super Heroes’ as well as ‘The Divorce Journal for Children. More information can be found on Sue’s Website: www.TheSueAtkins.com