Telling your children about your divorce may be something you are not looking forward to, but it has to be done in a delicate way. Divorce can be stressful and confusing for adults, and these feelings are even more true for children. You may understand the reasons behind the divorce, but these issues are typically too complex for children to understand and they will instinctively blame themselves.
Children may become angry and scared about the changes and uncertainty in their lives and will be hyper aware of the tensions between the adults. As a parent, there are several things you can do to prepare your children for the upcoming changes in their lives.
Tips For Telling Your Children About Your Divorce
Discuss the Divorce as A Family
The most important thing to get across when telling your children about your divorce is that the divorce is not their fault and that the both parents still love them. The best way to do this is to sit down as a family and both you and your spouse tell the children together. Discussing it as a family gives the children an opportunity to express their questions and concerns to you both at the same time, and shows the children that you are still going to parent them together. This also forces you and your spouse to meet beforehand to discuss how what you are going to say to the children and get you both at least considering what will happen with the children during the divorce.
Tell the truth about the situation but be age appropriate. They may have many questions that you should try to answer as truthfully as possible. During this turbulent and uncertain time in their lives they have to be able to trust you.
Do not talk negatively about the other parent or place blame. And avoid giving false hope that this may be temporary or that you may get back together.
Let Them Know What is Going to Happen
Like anyone else, children deal with change better when they are mentally prepared. Assure them that though you won’t be together anymore, you both still love them and will both still be involved in their lives. If one party is moving out, let them know when this is happening and the logistics of when they will be able to see each parent. Describe what things will be different and what things will stay the same.
Other Considerations When Telling Your Children About Your Divorce
If your child is taking things hard, consider sending them to see a therapist. It may be helpful for them to discuss their feelings with someone other than a parent, especially if they feel torn between the two.
Stay calm and avoid arguing in front of the children. It is also very important to never speak negatively about the other parent in front of the children so they don’t feel like they have to choose sides.