How Much Information Should Divorcing Parents Share With Their Children?
It is my personal belief, as well as the belief of many therapists that I have spoken to, that the less information that you share with children about the divorce, the better it is for them.
The most important thing that the parents can share with their children about the divorce, or during the divorce process, is to let the children know that they are loved, equally, by both parents. Children need to feel secure and they need to feel loved and nurtured, especially during this time. The children need to know that they will continue to spend as much time with both parents as they have before. That they are not going to be alienated from one parent or the other. The children also need to know that their extra-curricular activities, their sports, their swimming lessons, their social life, their school life, anything that they do, will remain the same as much as possible so that they don’t feel like their whole world will be turned upside down.
I personally feel that usually the least amount of information that is shared with the children, the better it is for them. Sometimes, however, children of divorce may be especially inquisitive. If a conversation can be had with the children to make them feel better, then I do feel it should be had if all of the following conditions can be met:
- The divorcing parents are in mutual agreement to have a discussion with their children.
- The parents can sit down in a unified situation where they are not bickering or fighting in front of the children.
- Aside from answering the children’s questions, the goal of the conversation is to try to explain to the children, as concisely as possible, how the divorce is going to change their lives, but most importantly how it will keep their lives the same with regard to the children.
If after sitting down with your children, you feel like your children need more help in processing the divorce and/or the anxiety that they are experiencing due to the divorce, then it might be a good idea to have a professional speak to the children to help them through this process.
Above all, remember that you want to do what is in your children’s best interest. Therefore, keep the conflict between the parents away from the children as much as possible. Children need both of their parents, and it is not in their best interest for parents to disparage each other in front of their children or to their children. Remember, you are the two people that are getting divorced. Your children are not divorcing you or the other parent. Your children need to feel safety and security, and most importantly, love from both of their parents.
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