How to Explain an Absent Parent to Your Child

mom hugging child

Parenting is tough, but it can be even more complicated when we are trying to explain to our children how their life is unique. They want to know why they have something different from what airs on television or from how their classmates are living. It's up to us as parents to jump in these deep waters headfirst before society gives our children a negative, yet quickly accepted reason they don't fit in. A few ways to handle talking about an absent parent include positive reinforcement, consistently answering questions, and keeping memories alive.

Consistently Answering Questions

Parents can't be alarmed if their children ask, “where is my mom or dad?” They need to be ready to answer this question as many times as it surfaces, and remain positive about it. The best way to prepare for this is by knowing what you are going to say before your child even asks. We can still include the actual reason the other parent is not involved without telling our children that the absent parent is a bad person or does not love them. For our own mental and emotional peace, we should keep in mind that we're not making excuses for the absent parent. In the event your child and other parent decide they want to have a relationship, your child should get to make their own opinion about their parent.

Positive Reinforcement

Parents who split up, whether by divorce or just a breakup, can potentially have the hardest time explaining to their children why things are the way they are. The good news is there is a way for parents to maintain the positivity in the mindset of the child by making sure not to bash the absent parent, and most importantly not letting the child think the separation has anything to do with them. We must be reassuring, explaining to our child that their mother or father loves them very much and just needs time to get themselves together. We don't have to get into the nasty details of the divorce or anything like that. If your ex is the type to promise a visit and pull a no-show, it's still ok for us to tell them that something came up. Ultimately, we must do as much as we can to keep our child mentally and emotionally safe.

Keeping Memories Alive

Keep positive memories of the absent parent in front of the children at all times. Just because things didn’t end well between you and your child’s other parent, doesn’t mean they need to have a bad image of them. Show them the times they shared with the absent parent so that they have a way to remember them by. Gather memories that are important and share them whenever the absent parent comes up. This will help answer any questions your child might have about their other parent.

Protect Your Child’s Interest

Splitting up can be very traumatic for children. A divorce can be the hardest to live through for you and your child. Additionally, not all separations are amicable, which makes the situation even more difficult. If you need any additional information about how to handle child custody or divorce issues, contact O'Malley Law Office, LLC. We are here to protect you and your child’s interests.

Call us today at (570) 284-3551 for a free consultation.