One of the main worries of parents who are going through a divorce is how to tell the children about what is going to happen and what to actually say to them.
Children naturally fear that they will lose one of their parents in a divorce or that their parents will abandon them. They also fear the changes and disruptions that a divorce will inevitably bring to their family and they often blame themselves.
One of the key things I ask parents to do is to sit down and work out together the answer to these questions:
What I need from my Mum and Dad – A child’s list of wants and needs during divorce.
- I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please send me emails, texts or even letters, make the effort to speak to me with phone calls regularly, and always appear interested by asking me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.
- Please stop fighting and work hard to get along with each other at least in front of me. Try to agree on matters related to me. When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.
- I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you. Please support me and the time that I spend with each of you. If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other and that makes me feel anxious and guilty.
- Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth and feel like piggy in the middle.
- When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all. When you say mean, unkind things about my other parent, I feel like you are expecting me to take your side and I love my Mum/Dad and hate hearing you criticise him/her.
- Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life. I count on both of you to teach me good values and to bring me up to be confident, resilient, and happy. I also need you both to teach me what is important, and to help and support me when I have problems.
I think it’s really important that you remember that divorce is a process NOT an event.
No two divorce situations are identical, but I believe sharing your story will be extremely helpful to other people going through the same process. Simply email me your divorce story. All contributions will be edited to keep the identity of everyone anonymous and names will be replaced with initials and we won’t publish any anonymous contributions.
The website is not a place to vent your anger at your ex – it’s a place to get information, ideas & strategies and it’s my intention to empower you to make good decisions going forward.