“If I’m really, really good will you get back together?”

bench-chilling-friends-798“I’ll make my bed!” “I’ll get all A’s at school.” Have your children told you all the ways they will change to convince you two to be together? Children of almost any age worry that they caused their parents’ separation. Children need to hear (again and again) that they are not responsible for your separation and that nothing will stop you from loving them.

Be an eParent®! Create a texting lingo that your child can use if he or she is feeling overwhelmed by the separation and that you can text or call back to reassure them of your care. For instance, your child could text MU (“Missing you”) whenever she is worrying about the separation and you can text back IALU. T5 (“I’ll always love you. Talk in 5 minutes.”).

Although relationship difficulties are between two parents, children often think that something they did or said caused their parents to separate. You can help your child cope with their doubts about the separation by giving your child chances to talk about how they feel about the situation. Hearing what other children and adults say about separation may help your child describe how he or she is feeling.

With younger children, you could watch “It’s not your fault” on Sesame Street Divorce. Older kids in their “tweens” may appreciate hearing what other kids say about separation and discuss with you if they feel the same or differently with you. Grown children might be interested in reading, “We’re Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents’ Divorce” by author Constance Ahrons, PhD.  

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin – Madison/Extension Human Development & Relationships Institute online or on Facebook.

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