When it comes to divorce, many kids hold out hope that their parents will one day reunite. This hope can be emotionally damaging, especially when both parents begin pursuing relationships with other people. While you can take away the hurt your child is experiencing as a result of you divorce, you can help him or her to understand that the process is truly final (which is the first step to accepting the new family dynamic). Parenting Magazine offers advice on how to explain this to your kids.
Maintain Distance (But Keep It Civil)
While it’s important for your child to have a good relationship with your ex, too much shared time could make it look like reunification is in the cards. However, you should also make it a point to treat each other civilly when you do have contact. An adversarial relationship is bad for you and it can also make your child feel caught in the middle.
Use Clear Language
When talking about the breakup, clear and concise language is best. Make sure your child knows that the split is permanent so he or she doesn’t harbor any false delusions about getting back together in the future. Also, it’s not necessary to go into detail when talking about the reasons why the divorce occurred. Some things are better left unsaid, and the most important aspect of the talk is that the breakup is permanent.
Emphasize Your Love for Your Child
When talking about the divorce, make it clear that both you and your ex still love your child very much. Many kids internalize parental breakups as something they did wrong or they imagine themselves the cause of marital strife. Be sure you address these concerns consistently by reassuring your child that the reasons for the divorce are between you and your ex.