... children have in divorce. Our new feature writer, Naomi Richards, guides our readers on a child's perspective. Naomi works as a life coach, working with children.
Your child is going to have hundreds of questions about what you and daddy are going to do now you don’t want to live together. Full of emotion and probably feeling irrational - them not you - is not really going to be the best time to discuss with them the full details of the separation. When they have managed to understand what you are telling them you will need to find a time best for both of you to discuss all the questions that they will have. Ask them, ‘When is the best time for you?’ as they know best when they want to talk about this issue. Their main concerns are going to based around them, ‘What is going to happen to me and my life?’ They may not be thinking about the logistics of mum and dad not being under the same roof and find it hard to imagine what that is going to be like.
You need to be honest with them and tell them in simple terms what is going to happen over the course of the next few weeks and months. You will also need to get them to understand the process to a degree and when they will be spending time with mum and time with dad. Before your discussion/meeting you could ask them to write down all the questions they want to ask you so that their emotions don’t blur out the issues they are concerned with. Otherwise your discussion will end up with your child still not knowing what is going to happen.
Your childrens list will probably look something like this:
Where am I going to live?
Where will my siblings live?
What will happen to school? – they will be concerned about if they will attend the same school and still see their friends
Will I still be able to have independence?
Where am I going to keep my clothes/stuff? – will there be enough room at dads/mums?
How will I get to the other parents place when its my turn to visit?
Will I be able to change these days?
What will I do when I am away from my more permanent place of residence and I am away from friends those days?
How and when can I speak to other parent?
Will I still get to go to my after school activities?
You will not be able to address them all at once. Let them choose the ones that they feel are the most important as of now and get them to think of ways of how things could work best for them. Explain that you are here to help and will try to make their life as easy as possible without too much disruption but it will not always be possible that everything will stay the same for ever.