Oftentimes, collaborative family professionals and child therapists encourage parents to speak in one voice when discussing divorce with their children.
Children do best when they feel loved and cared for by both parents.
It is certainly true that if one parent decides the marriage is no longer workable, the couple ceases to be able to continue as before. Therefore a statement such as “mom and dad tried to make our relationship work but were unable to…” conveys a true fact.
Yet, if you did not want the divorce, you may still feel the desire to tell your children that this big change in their lives was not your fault. This may reflect your desire for them to know that “I am not the one who caused your pain.” Or perhaps, it may derive from not wanting your children to grow up with the belief that if you start something you can always quit if it gets too difficult. You may also want your children to know you, your values, and your dreams for them.
As with many other sensitive issues in life, parents make decision on what they tell their children based on their age, development, temperament, interest and capacity to understand.
Most parents strive to protect their children from adult issues and concerns in order to not overwhelm them or introduce them to the adult world too soon.
Consulting with a child professional will assist you in determining how to best speak to your child.
Jay Stone Rice, Ph.D., MFT, is a Coach and Child Specialist in Marin County.
Photo credit: Ann Buscho, Ph.D.