How to Explain to Children About Parents separation
Often during separation of parents, children are usually left in the sidelines as many parents assume what they are going through is strictly between them. Sometimes some rightfully assume that the children should be in the know how. However explaining to children especially of a tender age is never an easy thing. This often leads to too much unnecessary information being divulged or too little.
Things to consider before explaining to children about separation
As difficult as separation is difficult for adult, this is reflected and amplified in children. This should be the first thing one should consider. At such a young age children tend to assume that the unfair happening around them is directly caused by them. This line of thought in children should be discouraged.
• The child’s age is a factor. Even from a young age the child can already know and sense if things aren’t going right and tend to seclude themselves as a form of protection. It is quite normal to treat different children differently. That is between the ages of two and five, six and ten and above.
• Another thing to consider before explaining to children about separation is how much they already know. During separation, adults tend to speak and talk without necessarily thinking about it. Children when behaving like children will often peer and eavesdrop on conversation. Before explaining anything try and listen to what they already know. This will give you as a parent a way forward in knowing how to explain and what to explain to children so that they don’t end up more confused than before and that the explanation you give them isn’t that off from what they overheard.
• Timing is another consideration. Being sidelined is an often unfortunate phenomenon that children have to deal with. This does more damage than good in the long run especially so if they have asked before over and over again. As parents do well to remember that even though children can stop asking questions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have stopped thinking about it. The easiest way to put them at ease is to explain the situation at the first instance you have.
How much is too much
Children are the neutral party in everything. Explaining to children everything regarding the cause of the situation is a bad idea as they will form prejudice and preference for one parent and thus hate the other. As the hurt parent garnering support against the other partner won’t help especially in cases where joined custody of the children is granted, it will make things just harder. So how much is too much
Well the intimate sexual lives of either partner especially the one in the wrong should not be up for discussion. At the end of the day they are children and have no connection to what their parents did. This also involves not inputting personal opinion and hurt feelings when describing another partner. Children read between the lines and will mimic the parent’s emotions as a form of loyalty without even knowing. With courts having played a major part in the decision of separation, when explaining to children do well to leave out what the court said unless it directly affects them; that is custody issues. However in this try to remember that they don’t have to know everything, if its visitation rights, tell children that and the other parent, though not present will be visiting as often.
One thing to remember though is that this whole scenario changes in the case of domestic violence where the child was a victim. Explaining in clear terms that the other parent cannot and won’t be able to hurt them would actually do good. However as they are children guilt feelings may still linger and reassurance of it not being their fault is necessary
How to go about it
Have an official sit down with children and explain that as parents you won’t be living together anymore. Listen to the concerns and reassure that it’s not the child fault. As parents remember that this sit down is where you reassure children of love for them. This will limit periods and tendencies of acting out due to attention. If co- parenting is going to be a feature, ensure that even if different rules apply in different houses, parents are still in charge and soon children will be able to come with everything better.