In all honesty, the ones affected by a parent’s separation are not the parents themselves, it’s the kids. Imagine having a good life and suddenly it gets ripped away in an instant. When the parents separate, there’s nothing familiar left; they would tiptoe around situations, be hesitant around both parents and may become emotionally distressed. As a parent, you need to help the kids after separation, keep in mind that not all separations are peaceful. Remember that soap opera you watched that involve bloody custody battles? Thos happen in real life don’t ever put your children through that.
We’re here to offer you some tips and guides as to how you can make the separation easier for the kids. Take note that we aren’t saying these are foolproof and that you shouldn’t go out and look for professional help. But, you can always start with these.
How to Tell Them
Well you’re going to have to tell them at some point, the moment that both of you are sure would be the perfect moment to tell them. Honestly, there’s no easy way to tell kids that their parents are planning to their separate ways.
We highly advise both parents to be present during this. As both of you are explaining, do absolutely every to hide any anger, frustration and resentment towards the other if there are any. Reassure them that it’s not their fault because otherwise they’ll think that it is. Keep the details plain but don’t keep the important stuff out. Give the kids enough information to process why the separation is legitimately happening.
As with any kid, yours are bound to have a ton of questions. Answer the questions as truthfully as you possibly can. Remember that you don’t really need to make them understand why you and your partner had to separate. It’s crucial that the kids know that big changes are coming to their lives and that they need o do their best to cope.
About 95% of the time, the kids will be visibly upset and that’s where you need to reassure them the most. Tell them that it’s perfectly okay to be upset and that both of you will still love them even though you’re not together.
Even though they may not show any sign of being upset, you also need to reassure them. There are kids who are afraid to show their feelings since they think it will upset their parents. Whatever their reaction might be, reassurance is still key.
Help Them Cope
A lot of kids and parents mourn the loss for the family that they grew up with; many of them still hope that the parents might get back together. As a parent, you need to help them cope with their new situation so they won’t continuously hope that their parents would get back together. Here are some things you can do to help them cope:
- Encourage them to be honest with you – kids should not be afraid to show their feelings about the separation. Help them understand that their feelings are as important as yours.
- Help them speak their mind – it’s one thing for them to show that they’re upset and another to actually put these feelings into words. Start with something like “You seem upset, do you know what’s making you upset?” Also, you need to really listen to what they say; hearing is different from listening.
- Offer Your Support – ask the kids what they think will lighten their mood. If they don’t really know then you should suggest taking a walk outside, going out to eat or simply sitting together. The younger kids might even appreciate a call from the other parent.