When talking to children about family members they do not know but will soon meet it is important to present information to them in a way that is truthful, but appropriate to their child development. It is important not use negative language about the other person, this will shape how the child feels about the person they will be meeting and may lead to problems around anxiety. It is even possible that your negativity might be thought of as parental alienation, when this is accompanied with other actions or observations.

The conversation with the child should take place at a pace they can cope with and might actually be several conversations rather than something that can be concluded briefly. Children are likely to have questions as a result of the information you share with them, make time for this and where you can answer openly and fully. If you cannot do this, let them know, they will understand this much better than finding out later that something you said was incorrect.

Explain that there are many different types of families and this is the situation with yours. There are story books that can assist with this. Sesame Street also have a range of cartoons, which are accessible online.

Visit the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) website for other tips around engaging with your children in a way that meets their needs, post separation.

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