Divorce can be an intense and emotional situation for everyone involved, but perhaps more so for the children. Breaking the news to your children can be one of the hardest parts of the entire process. Though it can be difficult to talk to your children about the divorce at first, being open and transparent about the changes is l the best option.
If you are going through a divorce, this article will serve as a helpful template on beginning the discussion with your children, what to talk about, and what to keep to yourselves as adults.
Tips for Discussion
Here are some tips that will help you navigate that conversations you will have with your children when you are ready to tell them about your divorce:
Tip 1: Plan the Talk
Before you sit down with your children, make sure you discuss what you will talk about together with your spouse. Go over what you will say and try to work through any emotional extremes before the children are there. Tell them after school or on a weekend and not on a special day or holiday. If it is hard to speak with your spouse or you can’t agree on how to proceed, hire a counselor to help work through the harder details of the discussion. This preparation will help keep the talk moving forward and make your children feel more comfortable.
Tip 2: Talk with Your Children Together
This is an important step so you both can comfort and show that the decision is by both parents, demonstrating that there is no “bad guy” in the situation and that you both are still going to be able to be civil and co-parent together. No matter who decided to get the divorce or if there is personal blame, make your best efforts to minimize their perception of animosity. This talk is about making your children feel comfortable and understand that you can still discuss things as a family. Your children seeing you work together even after this hard decision will comfort them and create a sense of stability whereas the divorce can make them feel the opposite.
Tip 3: Assign No Blame
It can be tempting to lay blame on the other person if they are the one who wants the divorce or are the one who broke up the marriage, but assigning blame on someone during your family discussions will only fracture and harm communication and make it more difficult for your children to accept their new reality. This can also make it so your children choose sides which will hurt the process. Make sure to use “we” as much as possible during the talk and explain the decisions as a team. Show them you are staying cordial as you will be co-parents no matter what so getting along (at least in front of the children) is important. No one says you have to be friends, but you will always be parents together.
Tip 4: Explain the “Why”
Although it is not important to tell your children all the intimate details of the divorce, they will want to know why it is happening. Most often, they are looking to make sure that they aren’t the reason for the divorce. Assure your children they have nothing to do with your decision and provide an easy to digest explanation for them, especially if they are younger children. They won’t understand any nuanced answers anyway, and staying neutral is important.
Tip 5: Let Them Know You are Still a Family
Although you won’t be married, let your children know you will always be their parent and nothing changes that. There are many resources to help explain to many different age groups, such as books and cartoons made for children. Make sure to answer any questions they have and discuss whatever they need to discuss to feel better about the divorce.
Going Through a Divorce? Get the Legal Help You Need.
At Brackin Law Firm, we understand how hard going through a divorce can be and we will get the results you deserve when you need them most. With more than 40 years of experience, we can provide comprehensive care and representation tailored to your needs and unique situation.
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