Redbook: 30 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids While You're Going Through a Divorce
What you say now can make a huge difference in how your kids handle this life-changing event
"THIS IS GOING TO BE MUCH BETTER FOR YOU"
The cold, hard truth is that divorce is one of those things that has to get worse before it can get better. Telling kids it's a positive thing minimizes their very real feelings of sadness and hurt.
"Instead, explain that it will be hard on everyone but that the child is loved, the parents are going to do their best to ensure the child will be taken care of, and that everyone will get through this," says Rochelle Harris, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Children's Mercy Kansas City.
"Divorce is like grieving the death of a loved one - the feelings never go away but get processed at different stages in their life."
"IT"S NOT YOUR FAULT"
Just like you shouldn't tell kids the divorce is their fault, you shouldn't tell them it isn't either - it's best to stay away from blame all together, says Erlanger Turner, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and asssitant professor of psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown.
"Don't tell kids 'it's not your fault' without giving an age appropriate reason for why you are separating. Children will make their own interpretations about the status of their family changing. By using this language, children will automatically wonder if they really are to blame.
Learn more about the services offered by the Division of Developmental & Behavioral Sciences at Children's Mercy.