Extract from “Separating Respectfully” written by Lynne Clark B.S.W. Master of Family Therapy

“Your children will need to know what is taking place so that they can be reassured about how they are going to fit in their separated family structure.-They need to be told that they will be maintaining their ongoing relationships with both parents.

They are not to be informed of each parent’s story about what has taken place.-This is not the children’s business.-Ideally, parents should tell their children the same story, perhaps that their parents have decided to separate because they are no longer happy living together (or something similar).-You might like to add that everyone will feel a little sad and upset for while.-Older children may request a more detailed explanation.-While it can sometimes be a difficult task, information they are given should never include denigrating comments about the other parent.

More importantly, rather than lengthy explanation regarding why the separation is taking place, children need a lot of reassurance that they will continue to see both their parents, along with reassurance about how their parents will be arranging for this to take place.-They need reassurance that they will continue to be loved by both parents and that their wellbeing will be prioritised.-They also need to be reassured that they did not contribute in any way to their parent’s decision to separate. 

By reassuring your children and not involving them in your dispute, you will be protecting their emotional wellbeing.”

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