Sometimes we tend to jump in too quickly with words of reassurance or with too much information because we are trying to convince ourselves that everything is okay. But, by doing these things, we discourage our children from expressing their feelings.
- Don’t change the subject or try to avoid listening to your child. It’s most important to allow him to express freely whatever feelings or thoughts are on his mind.
- Keep your discussion age-appropriate. We sometimes forget that our explanations need first and foremost to be appropriate to our child’s developmental level.
- Don’t give more information than necessary. Sometimes, we are so quick to share every detail regarding our children’s birth with them that we forget to keep our conversations age-appropriate. Stick to the basic facts and keep your explanations simple. Reveal more and more information as your child matures.
- Don’t lie. Lying to your children doesn’t work because you simply won’t be able to sustain the lies. The loss of a loving father will be compounded by the loss of their trust in you.
- Don’t miss any opportunity to be as positive as possible. Let your children know that they don’t have to repeat their father’s unacceptable behavior or poor life choices. Look for opportunities to make truthful positive comments about their father.
- Exercise caution in talking about a father’s failure to pay child support. If your child’s father doesn’t pay child support, you need to be careful in the way you talk about it. Here are some tips:
Recognize that children are aware when fathers do not pay child support, if only because finances often become critically tight.
Consider different methods of answering questions about the father’s failure to pay. For example, if the father’s lack of support is due to sickness or unemployment, share these facts.
Point out that their father may be angry for a number of reasons, some of which he may not understand. However, point out that not paying support is a poor way to express these feelings.
Don’t say that the father’s failure to pay is because he never really loved his children or that he’s a lifetime member of the low-life club. These words will wound your children and will certainly do nothing to make the checks arrive any sooner. Better to explain gently that his behavior is sort of like a grown-up temper tantrum.