Helping your child talk about it
It’s normal for your child to feel anxious as the family they know breaks up. That’s why it’s important to give your child space and time to talk about how they feel. Children often hide sadness if they see mum and dad are upset. Your child’s reactions will all depend on their age.
Talking about it can help your child deal with the changes ahead. Seeking counselling for children or other professional help may be a good option.
- Reassure your child as much as possible that mum and dad still love them.
- Try to stick to familiar routines.
- Try to find a special time to talk without any interruptions.
- Look out for changes in behaviour.
- Show you understand what your child is going through.
- Encourage your child to tell you how they feel.
- Don’t ask too many questions.
- Seek extra help from a professional if you need it-for example, child counselling or help from your child’s school.
- Try to talk while you’re doing something together or sitting in the car. Encourage younger children to show how they feel by drawing pictures.
- Let your child talk to their other parent.
- Try to avoid criticizing the other parent.
- Be the adult-keep your own feelings about the separation away from your child.
Sometimes children and young people, (and their families), may need extra support if they are finding it difficult to deal with or understand their emotions and/or behaviour.
Schools often provide professionals to help young people and their families, such as learning or behaviour mentors, family liason officers or professionals from external services. However some children and young people, or thier families, may decide to seek further help in the form of counselling.
If you feel that you or your child needs extra help from a professional, then you should ask your child’s school what support they can offer. You could also consider counselling for children from organisations such as Relate.
Where can I go next?
The parent connection - separation plan for telling your children
An online worksheet to help you prepare to tell your children about separation, from the Parent Connection.
Centre for Separated Families - talking to your children
Information from the Centre for Separated Families to help you talk to your children about how they are feeling.
Dad.info - top tips talking to your kids
Helpful tips from Dad.info about how to talk to your children.