Not many people love “hard conversations” … at some stage in our lives though I’m sure we’ve all been there, am I right?
“It’s not you, it’s me”
“Sorry we’re restructuring”
Yadda yadda …
Telling your children that you and your ex are separating is more than just having a “hard conversation”. This day is a day that will change the lives of your children FOREVER. “My parents are separated” will now become part of their story. This is one tough conversation to have.
You know your children better than anyone else and whilst there is no right or wrong way to approach this conversation here are some tips that may make the load a little lighter –
1. Timing is key.
Pick a time that is not already full, this can be hard because life is full. You could possibly schedule the time into the diary so that you don’t prioritise anything else directly before or afterwards. Don’t pick a time when your kids have to be anywhere else that day or night, as you want to give them the opportunity to be able to have as much time to express how they feel and ask all the questions that they need.
Take some time to think about what you are going to say and how you will broach the subject. There’s no conversation starter for this one. I’d suggest you write down what you want to say to your children. It doesn’t have to be a well scripted speech and chances are no one else will read it but you, however when you write down your thoughts they are often easier to verse.
Be prepared for the questions from your children. Mostly they are pragmatic creatures and will want to know how their lives will change and how will they fit into your new life; where will they live; when can I see Mum/Dad; who will make my school lunches; who will do my hair; can my friends still come over; There will be so many questions and they may not ask them all at once, but do prepare to have the answers for the most important ones though – living arrangements and spending time with the other parent.
3. Be Honest.
This is no time for embellishing the truth. Of course you may need to tone down the details according to the ages of your children.
During the course of my break-up I made a promise to my children that I would never lie to them and that I would always answer them honestly to the best of my knowledge. This can be a hard one because there may be times when you have to own your sh*t and take responsibility for your actions that may have contributed to the break-up.
Remember that these people that you helped create and bring into this world love you unconditionally and whilst they may feel hurt and pain at some of your answers they will respect you more for it in the long run.
4. Do your best to be on the same team as your ex.
Children need to know that whilst you and your ex are no longer a couple, you are still a family. If you communicate nothing else to your children make sure that they know, that they are not to blame for this break-up, that you and your ex love them and that you will always remain a family.
5. Be kind to yourself.
If you need help preparing your conversation feel free to jump on the email and we will help you where we can.