There is obviously no good time for telling bad news and no ideal way of doing it. It is going to vary tremendously according to the ages of the children and circumstances of the separation but equally, obviously, if the parents can be seen to be working together to ensure the best possible outcome for their children, that will help their children enormously.
Most children will know long before they are told that there have been issues between the parents. Maybe there have been arguments or just a feeling of unease and lack of communication. Most children, too, would prefer the arguments and unpleasantness to end and it may well be that if the parents are happier apart then so will the children. The important thing to avoid is giving the children the impression that they have to take sides. They want to be able to love both parents and both parents must allow them to love and have a good relationship with the other.
As parents, we must try not to let our children see us upset when they go to the “other” parent. They may feel guilty about spending time with one or other parent, if the other is left at home alone and sad.
Most parents manage to work out some sort of practical arrangement so the children see both parents, the children know when they are to be at one or the other’s house and in time a new pattern and new relationships develop.
As Susan Trussel, The Banbury Therapy, said in a recent article, the most important thing is that the children know they are loved by both parents and they don’t have to choose between them. Working together will help to ensure the best possible outcome for your children and mediation is often a good place to start that process.
For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.