Family Situation

Talking to Your Child About Your Family Situation

Family Situation2015 is shaping up to be a big year for children’s rights, especially with regard to Family Law. Children are now being placed at the centre of legislation that directly affects them and their parents. Talking about your family situation can be difficult especially if you, as a parent, are struggling to cope yourself. Here are a few tips to help you to open a dialogue with your children and ease them  into a secure understanding  of their family.

  1. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to know about both biological parents.
  2. Parents need to explain their family situation to their children in a way that fosters respect for the other parent and allows children to feel positively about their family.
  3. Being able to talk to a child positively about their family situation allows trust to develop between a parent and a child.
  4. Both parents have rights and with those rights come responsibilities to ensure that parents meet the child’s best interests.
  5. According to Irish law, access (to parents) is the right of the child.
  6. Be truthful with children and answer questions in a way that is respectful to the other parent and age appropriate to the child.
  7. If you live with your parents and they behave like parents to your child then be honest about the real nature of the relationship.
  8. If a new partner is like a parent to your child be truthful about the real nature of the relationship.
  9. Use and create opportunities for talking about your family situation.
  10. Start early and be prepared to add information as your children get older. Children are well able for the truth, they often want the facts to help them understand and feel less vulnerable.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming up Next Week: 10 ways to Parent Through Stressful Times.

LIVE Facebook Q&A on this topic with Geraldine, 9 March from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook pageJoin in and post your questions.

Next you might like to read: 10 ways to Support Grandparents Relationships With Your Child, 10 ways to Nurture Your Role As A Step Parent or 10 ways to Explain An Absent Parent.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email