It’s important that whatever message you give to your children is consistent and agreed.
Try to talk and communicate to your children together as parents, not as individuals. Start your sentences with “We”:
- We both love you very much
- Just because we aren’t going to live together, does not mean that we won’t be there for you as parents always
- We want you to know that this is not your fault
- We cannot live together, it is a grown-up problem (do not go into the whys and wherefores)
- We are sorry it has not been easy, we are working hard to make it better
- We will always be your mum and dad and we will both continue to be part of your life.
- Keep it simple and plan how you will talk to the children together. Agree a message that you both feel comfortable to give.
Let the children know you understand this will be a difficult change for them and that they will probably have many different feelings as a result. Tell them it is okay to question or talk to either of you, or both of you together.
At the same time try to improve your communication as parents
Try to ensure that you will
- Be polite and respectful
- Get your body language right
- Get your tone right
- Get your words right
- Get the environment for discussion right
Keep it simple. Think before you communicate and do not communicate in anger.
If you are struggling to decide what and how to tell the children, mediation can help you. In some circumstances it may also be of benefit for your children to speak confidentially to the mediator.