How do I talk to kids about separation?

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  • #15424 Report


    Hello all,

    I separated from my partner a few weeks ago and we have a 4 year old girl and 6 year old boy. Today, my ex was taking care of the kids but got upset and cried in front of them (I think they were asking him when he was coming back home).

    The kids seemed fine when I returned home but made a point of telling me that daddy had been crying. I tried to talk to my 4 year old who started to get sad but I tried to reassure her that he would be okay and that we all get sad sometimes and that’s okay. My 6 year old boy however buried his head in his hands and just said “I don’t want to talk about it”. I didn’t want to press him so as not to upset him further but I’m totally at a loss as to how to talk to them about it and/or whether I should involve anyone else.

    Does anyone have any advice? My boy is back at school tmrw so was thinking I should try and get an appoinment with the teacher. My daughter starts in a couple of weeks but will have a home visit before then where I can hopefully explain a bit more.

    #15440 Report


    Hi milagrogirl

    Personally I think that it’s the exposure to conflict thats most damaging to children, as opposed to the separation itself. At 4 and 6 I would guess that the children, given time will accept that mum and dad live separately, so long as they see you are both ‘happy’ with this arrangement and able to remain amicable with each other. You don’t mention whether this was an amicable split.

    The children may need reassurance in the short term, have a regular schedule so they understand when/where they can expect to see each of you. No matter which way folks look at it post separation, there needs to be the development of a ‘new relationship’ with your ex partner that facilitates you working together respectfully to raise the children you created with minimal conflict. Sounds easy doesn’t it? You just both need to be on the same page

    #15441 Report


    Thank you for the advice. The split was not an amicable one unfortunately.

    I agree, I have tried to tell my ex that we need to have a positive or at least a civil relationship with one another and encourage the children to have positive relationship with both of us. However he is “too angry” to be civil to me.

    It’s so frustrating. I just want the best for my children and I thought with there now being no conflict or arguments in the house it would help but I think seeing daddy so upset might have made them view the situation with a different pair of eyes.

    You’re right, they need a routine and back to school time will hopefully help but at the moment, my ex hasn’t provided any kind of pattern/certainty with childcare despite my asking him to and despite me picking up a lot more of it over the past few weeks. I don’t mind the childcare at all, but it’s not sustainable – the children need a routine and my employers will expect me to have a regular working pattern too!

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