Tough questions – what to answer?
As a parent, it’s a good idea to think about how you might answer questions your child might have. Here are some examples of what you could say and how you could think about your child’s questions to give the most wise answers possible.
A summary of this article below.
Common questions about divorce
“Do you still love each other?”
No, not as a couple in love and that is why we are separating. But we love you and will be parents who love being parents together.
“Will you go back together again”
No, our love for each other as lovers are over.
“Who is it that want to divorce?”
Be honest if it wasn’t a joint decision. Avoid adult explanations and blaming each other. Even if it is one of you who wants to separate, the reason for the divorce still lies in how it has been between you. Acknowledge if you are sad or angry right now, but explain that those feelings will pass. Don’t lie, but also don’t give information that the child hasn’t asked for.
“Is it because one of you have met someone else or been unfaithful?”
It’s a fine line between honesty and oversharing here. The risk is that the focus shifts to the new relationship or infidelity. If infidelity is a factor in the divorce, it still needs to be mentioned. Start from what you think is best for the child to hear, not what is easy to tell. If the new relationship was a brief one or not going to be involved in the child’s life, you may choose to steer away from that question. “This is about the two of us and you, and that’s what we want to talk about now.” You could affirm that “yes, mom has been seeing someone, but our divorce is still about how dad and I have been together.” If the child has heard or sensed that someone else is involved, they need to get that confirmed.
Why can’t I be with both of you all the time?
Because Mom and I don’t feel good when we live together. We want to live in separate places to become happier and more relaxed. You will still get to spend time with both of us, just not at the same time.
Will the whole family ever be together again?
Imagine that you can all spend time together – what would that look like? Would it be special occasions such as birthdays and graduations, or would it just be casual meetups for coffee or dinner? If it’s not going to work to be together, be honest about it. Maybe it’s too awkward to all be together and so you won’t be able to see each other all at once. Hopefully it will be easier in the future, but you can’t promise that.
- Answer your child’s questions honestly, but don’t give too much information.
- Avoid adult explanations and pointing fingers.
- Confirm if you are sad or angry right now, but also explain that these feelings will pass.
- Don’t promise things you can’t keep. Try to give your child hope and security that even though it’s hard right now, things will get better after the separation.