Talking to Your Kids About Their Other Parent
Before you say anything regarding your co-parent to your kid….always remember to check your intention. Talking to your kids about their other parent can take some practice that some co-parents hadn’t anticipated. There are a lot of emotions at play when co-parents navigate divorce and hurtful things can be said. Co-parents can be so angry at each other and have an urge to share things with their kids. When emotions are high it can feel hard to operate and stay in a right frame of mind. Keeping your kids out of the middle and not oversharing are critical to your kid’s wellbeing.
It is always helpful to “check yourself” before telling your child certain information about their other parent.
Pause, Question, and Proceed Accordingly
When talking to your kids about their other parent, remember PAUSE, QUESTION and PROCEED ACCORDINGLY.
- What is my real reason for sharing this information with my child?
- Is my child being harmed by the behavior I am about to criticize?
- Are they being harmed by not having the information I am about to reveal?
- What is my definition of helpful for my child?
- How will it help my child to hear what I am about to tell them?
- Do the possible benefits of revealing this to my child outweigh the possible risks?
- If I were still happily together with their other parent, and I wanted to protect our child’s relationship with them, how would I handle the situation?
- Would I want my co-parent saying this about me to my child?
Are there elements of what I want to communicate to my child that may be more appropriate in the future and not now? What is my child capable of understanding right now? Their readiness can depend on things like their age, temperament and overall developmental behavior.
When you are able to be more intentional when talking to your kids about their other parent and sharing information with them, we insulate tour kids from the complexity of the adult world. Check out our blog on How to Talk to Your Kid About Your Ex for a deeper look at how to navigate keeping your child free from these complexities. If you need more support on navigating difficult conversations with your child about divorce or separation, Our Parenting from Two Homes course will guide you.