How Do You Tell the Children That You're Getting a Divorce?
Posted Aug 24 2008 10:06pm
When I went through a divorce more than 14 years ago, my two children were a baby and a preschooler, and thus weren’t old enough to be given too many details. I have often wondered, though, how different it would have been if they had been older. How would I have told them that their father and I were divorcing, and we’d be moving to another home? Would they be scared or cry or begin acting out? Indeed, one of the most difficult conversations a parent will ever have with his or her children is telling them that their parents are separating or divorcing. Children may blame themselves, worry about the future, fear they’ll never see one or both of their parents again, or feel that their safety and security are crumbling before their eyes. So, how can parents allay these fears while imparting such a scary message to their children?
Fortunately, a book by Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, provides a great start. How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! is a fill-in-the-blank book that guides parents through making a personal family storybook they can share with their children. The text was designed to convey six key messages to children of divorce:
1. This is not your fault.
2. Mom and Dad will always love you.
3. Mom and Dad will always be your Mom and Dad.
4. You are, and will continue to be, safe.
5. This is about change, not about blame.
6. Everything is going to be okay.
Using the templates provided, parents can customize their book to reflect their personal situation. Parents are encouraged to include stories (and photos) from their family’s history, guided on ways to explain “the problem” without inflicting blame on the other parent, and coached on how to provide a picture of the future and how it will change. Parents can use materials as simple as a photo album or as elaborate as a scrapbook. Two versions are provided, one for kids aged 5–10 and another for kids aged 10–15. How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? also provides advice and insights from six therapists who specialize in family issues.
Divorce is never going to be an easy adjustment for children, but with the help of this book, parents can provide their children with the information they need to be assured that they’re loved and their future holds promise. How Do I Tell the Kids About Divorce? is available as a downloadable eBook at www.howdoitellthekids.com (and also includes some great bonuses!).