Some children worry about telling their friends that their parents are splitting up or have already separated. They feel embarrassed but there is no reason for them to feel like this as there is nothing to be ashamed of. Lots of parents split up and children need to be able to talk to their peers about what they are going through and how they are feeling about the separation.
Explain to your children that the separation is not a secret and that you will be telling your friends and relatives so that they can help you out and provide support. Also, by telling people no one can ‘put their foot in it’ by saying something like, ‘How’s x?’ or ‘We have not seen x for ages’.
Helping Children Deal with Separation
Tell your children it would be of benefit for them to tell their friends so they don’t say the wrong thing and so they have someone of their own age to talk to. Their friends may be able to help by cheering them up or understand when they get a bit sad or tearful.
If they are adamant that they don’t want to tell their friends because they are embarrassed, then ask them if they would prefer it if you told their friends parents and they could tell their children. If they say no then respect their decision but make sure you are there for them to talk to.
However give it your best shot and encourage them to confide in their friends. Discuss with them what they would like to tell their friends. Encourage them to use their own words when they tell their friends and tell them that they can say as much or as little as they like.
Their friend’s only need to know the basics – that you have separated, why you did and who you are living with. If they only told one person it may make them feel better especially if that person’s parents were also no longer together. That person would understand because they had been through it before.
Confiding in friends will help to alleviate a child’s stress and worries about their parents separation. Give these suggestions a go if your child is struggling to deal with the situation.