Perhaps the pressure is gone and… perhaps you’re confident about your decision to file for divorce. You and your spouse have been unhappy for a while, and both of you agree that being apart is best. What you’re probably not looking forward to is the necessary conversation with the kids regarding the divorce; the process, the pros and yes, even the cons.
It is normal for parents to want to shield their children from any sort of emotional pain. But…. there’s bad news and good news. The bad news is that your children will feel pain when they learn of the divorce; and this is completely normal. The good news is that approaching the subject with diligence will enable them to adjust and cope more positively with this change in their lives. Here are some tips to help you navigate the discussion.
4 Tips for Telling Your Kids about Your Divorce
1. Tell the Children Together
Ideally, you and your spouse should tell the children about the divorce together. This way, you avoid the confusion that may result when they only hear one side of the story, and they will understand that the change is a mutual decision. The children will also hear from both parents that the divorce is not because of anything they have done and that they will never be pressured to choose one parent over another.
2. Keep the Conversation Age-appropriate
While it is important to be both honest and straightforward, you also need to take the children’s ages and emotional maturity into account. Teenagers and tweens will have a different understanding of divorce than preschoolers. Speak in terms that they will understand, all while emphasizing that both parents still love them very much.
3. Avoid Blaming Anyone
No matter how frustrated you and your spouse may be with each other, don’t argue in front of the children, especially when you’re breaking the news about the divorce. This will alarm them and make them anxious. They need an extra dose of love and support, especially now.
4. Answer Their Questions
Be prepared for a lot of questions after the announcement. Your children will want to know how their lives will be affected by the divorce, so they may ask, “Where will we live?”, “Which school will we go to?” or “How often will we see Mom / Dad?” Make your answers compassionate and supportive.
Some kids don’t ask questions after learning about their parents’ divorce. Don’t be alarmed if this happens. It means that they need time to process the news first. Let them know that both of you will be there when they need to talk.
The Aftermath of the Divorce Conversation with Your Kids
Once you have had the conversation, be prepared for additional questions and requests for reassurance. Like anyone, kids often have questions and concerns after the fact. You should also keep divorce paperwork out of sight, especially if your kids can read, and refrain from discussing legal matters on the phone when there’s the slightest chance they can hear you. Instead, focus on making them feel safe and loved in the weeks and months ahead.
Breaking the news of the divorce to your kids will be one of the more difficult parts of the transition but providing them with compassion and understanding of their feelings will make it easier to get through it for everyone.
At the Law Office of Judith Delus, P.A., our family law team understands the impact that divorce can have on a family. We will work with you to make the process as comfortable as possible for you and your children. To schedule a consultation, call (678) 679-6415 or contact us today.