This issue is one that understandably concerns parents who are separating and comes up in mediation regularly.Claire Colbert – Mediation & More LLP
Some top tips I often share include:-
- Plan together how, when and what will be said and what you will do afterwards. Will you tell the children at the same time? Will you tell them together?
- Don’t presume it will just be one conversation. Keep the first one short so the children have time to absorb what has been said.
- Be aware your children will be watching your reactions and body language and will take direction for this to how they will manage.
- Ask them if they would like to speak with anyone – a family member, grandparent or maybe even consider child inclusive mediation so that they have a voice in the process (see the page on our website and separate blog about this option)
- Remind them that you are both still their parents who love them and nothing will change that. Repeat that reassurance regularly.
- Make it clear to the children that you will not be asking them to take sides and that they are allowed to love you both.
- Explain that you are sorting out the details of how family life is going to look and will share this when you know.
- Do not share details of the divorce or financial issues with the children.
- Emphasise that this is not their fault, but that the adults’ feelings for each other have changed or there is a problem they cannot work out.
- Let the children know it is ok to feel sad and show their emotions, but that it will feel better and it is ok to talk to you about it.