Once the decision to get divorced has been made, one of the most challenging concerns you face is how to tell your children. While you or our spouse may have made the decision to break up the family, your children have no choice in the matter. Parenting expert Rosalind Sedacca found a way to tell her young son and have a successful co-parenting relationship with her son through adulthood.
After reading her work, I interviewed Rosalind so that I could share her most salient points with you. The information is the result of years of research and experience with divorce professionals around the world.
Extensive research has shown that children suffer more from the fighting and being put in the middle of their parent’s divorce than they do from the actual divorce. Finding a way to shield them and help them throughout the process will greatly decrease the likelihood of long term psychological effects on your children.
Here are Rosalind’s six key messages to give your children when you’re telling them you’re getting divorce:
1. This is not your fault. Children tend to blame themselves. They often believe if they’d done something differently, mom and dad wouldn’t be getting divorced.
2. You are and always will be safe. Divorce is one of the most insecure times in a child’s life. Their foundation of security is being broken away from them.
3. Mom and Dad will always be your parents. Children need to know that you won’t be divorcing them.
4. Mom and Dad will always love you. Children see their parents who used to love each other no longer love each other and wonder if it’s possible they won’t love me. They need to be assured that that’s not possible.
5. This is about change and not about blame. You are changing the form of your family but you will always be a family.
6. Things will work out okay. Parents need to make sure that things do work out ok. They need to focus on best interest of their children. Kids shouldn’t be parenting their parents, compensating for mistakes parents made, or feeling neglected, hurt or alienated from one parent or another.
The nature of divorce, the hiring of individual attorneys and facing a judge in court inherently leads to an adversarial divorce. Someone has to win and someone has to lose and the children inevitably become pawns. Rosalind’s mission has been and continues to be to help parents avoid this outcome and to help parents continue to have a healthy relationship with their children throughout and after their divorce.
Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? Her free ebook on Post Divorce Parenting, articles, coaching services and valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues are all available at www.childcentereddivorce.com.
Join me June 19th in NYC for Co-Parenting 101: Considerations for creating a Parenting Plan and Custody Arrangements. Click here for more details.