- Consider your children’s feelings and take account
of their needs and wishes when you make decisions.
- Where possible continue existing routines. This
helps children feel more secure and able to cope
- Children will have lots of questions. Be patient
and reassuring; ask how they feel and if they have
any worries. For example, children could be very
worried about where a family pet is going to live.
This may not have occurred to parents as a
- Children need to express their feelings. These can
be shown outwardly or they may beecome
quiet, withdrawn or clingy. Try to appreciate how
they may be feeling and encourage them to
express themselves. It may help you and your
children to talk to somebody independently,
perhaps with a relate counsellor.
- Avoid saying or doing things that will make your
children feel torn between both parents and that
they have to take sides.
- Don’t avoid talking about your partner, but try to
keep any negative feelings you may have out of
They are still your child’s Dad or Mum.
Stick to arrangements, build trust and don’t use the children to get back at each other. Keep telling and showing your children that they are loved.
What do you say?
When you tell the children that you have decided to separate it is important to consider what will be the best time to do this. Take account of their age, level of
understanding and how you are going to manage the
- Think through and discuss beforehand what you will say.
Try not to use any words which indicate blame or
criticism of your partner.
- Ideally, you should both be together when you tell the
children. It’s important to tell all the children at the same
time so that one child does not hear about it from their
- Children need to know why you are separating and how
things will change for them and the family.
Most of all they need your love and assurances. It is
important they know it’s not their fault you are separating.
How can you help them?
- Each child’s needs are different; they all need their parents’ support and understanding to cope with change.
- Make sure you are ‘available’ for your children even
though you may be going through a painful situation