How to talk with children about your divorce or separation

Uploaded by EducationPrograms on 21.10.2010

Talking with your children about divorce. Up through early adulthood it is natural for
children to think about the world in an egocentric manner. This simply means that from very early
in life children think of themselves as the center of the universe and believe that everything
happens because of them "Mom, Dad...the sun came up because I'm awake." illustrates this
type of thinking.
It is natural it is normal and it is probably a biological function. As the child matures
and grows through their adolescent years, this thinking eventually wanes so that by
early adulthood, we grasp that although we are responsible for ourselves and for our
actions, we are not the center of the universe and everything doesn't happen because of us.
This principle is very important to keep in mind as we talk with our children about divorce.
I've met many children who easily say, 'It's not my fault, mom and dad said it’s not
my fault that they’re not together any more.'
But later in a conversation, when asked why: ‘Why do you think your mom and dad are not
together.' they’ll say something to the effect of 'because my brother and me fight...
because it cost so much to go to my school... because mommy told ME some things about daddy'.
One young lady I spoke with recently had gotten in trouble at school one day. It also seems
that later in the day she had learned about her parents’ separation. She fused the two
events together in her mind. So when asked: ‘Why do you think your parents are not together’?
She responded quickly: ‘because I got in trouble at school’.
So it is very important when talking with children to find words which reduce their
sense of responsibility, as well as let them know what to expect- how their lives will
be both the same and how their lives will be changed and to reassure them repeatedly
that they are loved and will always be taken care of.