Excerpt from the Note to Parents
Because young children often don’t know exactly what they are feeling or why, it can be difficult for them to talk about the sadness, fear, anger, and confusion that most children of divorcing parents experience. In addition, children may not want to talk about their feelings, because they fear they will further destabilize an already unsteady situation. This is especially so when they are feeling angry. Children may fear that talking will release the anger, which will rage out of control and blow up what remains of their world. Finally, many young children fear that merely thinking or talking about a bad thing can make a bad thing come true.
Despite these challenges, parents can help their children recognize and deal with their feelings in ways that are comforting and effective. The parents in this story are good role models in terms of showing what to tell a child and how to say it. For example, whenever possible, it is best that both parents begin by talking to their children together about the decision to divorce. Appearing together is reassuring, in that it demonstrates that you will continue to work together on their behalf, even though your marriage is ending. Also, it is helpful for your child to hear that most kids in this situation have lots of feelings, and by naming the feelings you validate them for your child. You can use I Don’t Want to Talk About It to introduce some of the feelings — including the desire not to talk about them!