The decision to separate from your partner is never an easy one, and when children are involved it can be even more heartbreaking. While it may seem easier just to move out and not tell your children that you will be living apart, that scenario can actually be an incredibly traumatising experience for them. Here are some tips on how you should tell your children that you are separating.
Don’t play the blame game
Whether the breakdown of the marriage was primarily due to one person, and regardless of how you feel towards your partner, the fact remains that you both need to be civil for the sake of your children. Be mindful that when parents separate, children can often feel that they are to blame. You and your partner need to reassure your children that the separation has nothing to do with them. It is also important that while you are living apart from your spouse, not to talk negatively about them in front of your children.
Discuss with your partner exactly how the conversation will go
It may be a very difficult conversation to have after you have already made the decision to separate, nevertheless how you will tell the children is very important too. The language you use and the tone that you take while explaining the situation will help to keep your children as calm as possible. Have a practice run and try to cover as many questions that your children may have about the separation.
The conversation should go a little like this
It is always best practice to explain the reasoning behind your marriage separation, with a very simple and objective story. Start by explaining that you will always be a family, even though one parent is going to be living in a different house for the time being. If your children ask why, explain that you both believe a little time out will make you both better parents.
Focus on the positives
While your children may be very distressed at the thought that one parent is moving out, it is important that you all focus on the positive experiences that will come while you are living separately. These can include fun outings that the children will have with either parent, and events in which the whole family will still attend together.
The most important aspect of telling your children that you are separating, is to always ensure they understand that they are loved, and a separation between two parents will never change that.