Graham Greene, British critic and writer, said that ” there is always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets in the future. Although it may be real, sometimes that door could be opened too soon, and we, as parents, do not know how to tell children about a separation, because they are too small and innocent, and we do not wish them a future that could come sooner. of time.
A separation is a delicate situation that also affects the little ones. One of the main concerns parents have when separating is how to communicate the breakup to their children. When to do it, what words to use and above all, how to answer the questions they ask. The psychologist Mónica Cruz, an expert in these issues, offers us the keys to tell children about a separation properly.
“Children have to have a lot of tolerance with adults.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry-
It is convenient to make a prior agreement between the parents. That is, both agree on what to say to the children, and do it together as much as possible. For this it is important to practice beforehand and not leave anything to improvisation.
Be that as it may, if the situation becomes complex, it is important not to lose your cool. In fact, if one of you loses your cool, it is best to postpone the conversation and leave it for another time.
Tell the truth to children
It is better not to lie. A child, who is generally self-centered (especially before the age of 6 or 7), may tend to blame himself. That is why it is very important that the explanation of what happens is very concrete and clear, preventing them from creating a story based on their imagination to cover the information they do not have.
When telling children about a separation it is important to tell the truth to avoid creating confusion in them and above all, making them feel guilty.
Security before everything
It is not an easy time, but it is important that children notice security in the words of their parents. It is the ideal way for them to understand that the decision is firm.
Cruz advises telling the children that, in the beginning, when they got together, they loved each other very much and formed a family with all the love in the world. However , as time goes by, they no longer get along as well as in the beginning and consider that they cannot be happy together.
“In the happiest of our childhood memories, our parents were happy too.”
Do not use disqualifications towards the other party
It is necessary not to disqualify the other party. Although it can be commented with the small situations experienced recently, as more common discussions in recent times, it does not mean that the other spouse can be insulted or blamed.
If you go into disqualification, you only make the situation more difficult. It is information that does not contribute anything, can be misinterpreted by the child and creates tension. You have to forget phrases like “he wants me to go” or “he abandons me,” for example.
Explain that everything has been tried
It is not a bad idea to explain to the little ones that everything has been tried. In other words, both parties have tried to keep the family union afloat by solving the problems, but in the end it could not come to fruition.
This is a way for children to accept that it is not an impulsive decision. If you think it was so, you might as well believe that it may be reversible. That is why it is so important to tell the truth with confidence, so that they understand that, after deliberating it for a while, it has been concluded that this is the best solution for the well-being of all.
More details to consider
From here, it is necessary for the little ones to understand that :
- They have nothing to do with what happened, everything just did not turn out as the parents expected.
- They can cry and express their emotions, it is not necessary that they believe that nothing is wrong.
- It is also important to ask the opinion of the children, even to comment if they expected something like that, since in recent times the situation was not good. This prevents misconceptions from being created.
- Of course, you have to explain what will happen in the immediate future. That is, they will continue to be a family, they will spend time with dad or mom, etc. This reduces your uncertainty.
- Finally, it is important to ask to ensure that the little ones have understood everything. If you have a question, it is important that you ask.
Of course, telling children about a separation is not easy, and their reactions can be very diverse. Denial, anger, silence… Be that as it may, it is important that they understand that their parents will be there forever, together or apart.