It is inevitable that at one point in time or another during a divorce process, most children of divorce will ask some form of the following three questions that will prove to be very difficult and awkward for their parents to answer. Attempting to answer these questions will feel a bit like walking on a tightrope, if you think about the information as the rope and both parent holding the rope, one at each end. The child is the tightrope walker and if you give too much information, not enough, or the wrong information, the child will start to feel extremely unsteady, become off balance and will eventually fall. Giving the right amount, as well as the appropriate information to help the child stay balanced is the key to successfully answering the question.
- Why are you and Mom/Dad not together anymore?
Answer: I know this is stressful for you and that things are hard to understand. You need to know that we both love you very much and are going to still be Mom and Dad, even if we aren’t living in the same house. The divorce has absolutely nothing to do with you, and is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. We want you to know that Mom and Dad are going to continue to work together for you and be the best parents we can be for you. The reasons that your Mom/Dad and I are getting divorced are extremely complicated, are between us, and are private, but you need to know that we both want, and are 100% committed to making this process as easy as possible for you both now and in the future.
- Do you think that you and Mom/Dad might get back together?
Answer: I can understand that this may be confusing, and it might feel really difficult to understand, but it is important for you to keep in mind that we both love you very much and you are the most important thing in our lives. The reality is that us calling off the divorce, or getting back together as a husband and wife is not going to happen. However that doesn’t mean that you and I won’t have a great relationship and your Mom/Dad and you won’t have a great relationship. Our relationship that you and I have, as well as the relationship that you have with Mom/Dad will never change. We all will work really hard to make sure that you feel very loved and cared for, even through what definitely feels like a very difficult change that is taking place in our lives.
- If you and Dad/Mom stopped loving each other, how do I know you won’t stop loving me?
Answer: Your Dad/Mom and I will always be here for you as your parents. We will also work together to make sure you are cared for, loved and have everything that you need. Even though the marriage is over, my relationship with you will never change. I will always be your Mom/Dad, it is something that means everything to me and I will work every day to show you just how important you are to me and how much I love you. I know that your Mom/Dad feels exactly the same way I do and is working just as hard to make you feel loved.
Depending on how old your children are, they probably will ask these questions in different forms; however your answer should always be positive and loving, not negative about the other parent, and should always include both parents’ perspectives in the answer if at all possible.