Explaining a divorce to your child
While the high number of divorces (one in three in France and one in two in the major cities) has somewhat trivialized the official end of a couple, it is nevertheless a painful stage, especially for a child. A test that he will overcome with your help.
While the high number of divorces has somewhat trivialized the official end of a couple, it is nevertheless a painful stage, especially for a child. A test that he will overcome with your help.
1- Finding the right words
A separation does not suddenly fall on a family without any warning signs: disputes, cries, criticisms, ambient animosity … It is, therefore, unlikely that your child did not realize it. Unconsciously, he probably already understood that everything was no longer rosy at home.
If possible, explain to two what is happening. It is important that he know that you have made a joint decision so that he does not reject the fault on one of his parents.
Explain to him that his father and his mother loved each other very much, but that today they have difficulty in understanding and living together.
Reassure him by reminding him that you will always remain his parents,
Do not do it: do not enter into the details of the separation: your daddy cracked for his boss, and your mom prefers his trainee!
2- Being honest
Being a parent is also about taking on oneself to protect your children. On the other hand, do not deny your pain or his.
You can very well tell him that it is okay to be sad and that his dad and his mom are also worried. The importance of this family upheaval must not be underestimated.
Do not let it give false hopes if your decision is irrevocable. Do not make him believe, thinking of preserving it, that your separation is momentary and that you could reunite a couple one day.
Only explain the sequence of events: divorce, waiting for judgment and decision on custody.
Do not do it: entrust him with all the grievances you have against your companion. Your child should not be held hostage and feel compelled to take sides.
A child will always feel that he may have done something wrong and that he is responsible for this separation. He will stop on details and imagine that the fact of not having put his room in place could trigger this rupture. It is critical to explain to him that there is nothing for it and that it is his parents, the big ones, who divorce but not him.
Do not do it: let your difficult conversations about new financial arrangements, custody, alimony … remain between you and your former spouse.
4- Reassure him on his daily life
The impression that his universe is collapsing and that everything will change, that is what will feel your little piece of cabbage when you will announce to him the news of your separation. It is then critical to tranquillise his worries to the maximum by reminding him of his landmarks or by quickly giving him new ones.
Explain to him, if it is the case, that he will continue to see you both but according to certain days or weeks. Name them if you already know them.
Prepare it for the prospect of a possible move or at least a second home. Include it in the preparations: “You will choose a wallpaper that you like, funny lamps, you can travel the weekend of the favorite stuffed …”
Not to do: to say to him “that nothing will change” since it is not the case! On the contrary, announce to him that there will be some small arrangements to envisage and that you risk not to be annoyed …
5- Answering your questions Following
this announcement, your little one can stand silent or on the contrary, you start the questions.
Take time to explain each one patiently. Be ready to hear everything.
“My boyfriend Théo has not seen his father since his parents divorced. Will it be the same?”
“Does mom have a new lover ?”
“And how will Santa find me?”
“Will I still see Grandpa and Grandma?”
“Are you going to tell the mistress?”
Do not do it: lie to him … Except for Santa Claus! If you are as lost as he is to the details of the organization, tell him you do not know yet, and you will have the answers as you go.