Hearing these words from a young child must create the most hollow, empty and helpless feeling in the world. A mother despairs. She herself suffers a myriad of emotions and is trying to grapple with the new situation. Being a child and hearing that his father will no longer live with them feels like a living death. Are they to blame? Did they cause it? A child might fear that his father will stop loving him. This is not a time for blame. The child must be reassured that he had nothing to do with the breakup. Here are some tips and advice to help you and the kids through this difficult time.
- You can only be there for yourself so you can help your children through this unhappy period. Women who have young children and have experienced divorce know the feeling. They know the pain and know that this is not something that passes easily. When you wake up in the morning you are faced with the situation. Your kids depend on you. They have only you to turn to and so you must be strong to help them.
- In all your conversations with the children, be honest when they ask questions and listen to them. Tell them the truth. Don’t tell them what their father did as you don’t want to add to their sorrow. Always have a visual picture of their faces before you.
- Daddy will not come home, you must tell them upfront. They cannot avoid the subject and you must not either. You must be seen to be strong. They must not get the sense that you can’t cope for you can and just must get through it. Separation and divorce are hard subjects for adults, let alone children – so be truthful.
- Spend as much time with them in the beginning and put each one to bed separately and spend a few extra minutes. Tell them that you and their father have decided not to live together anymore and that their father will see them on weekends and holidays when they can sleep over at his house.
- Most importantly, tell them that their father loves them and will be at all their school functions and activities. Nothing will change between them except that they will sleep in different homes.