Regrettably, divorce can be an enormously stressful and highly emotional time for family members. Probably the most difficult aspect is finding the best time to tell your children about your divorce.
If you are like a lot of people, you’ll have a great deal of questions about how to tell your children about divorce. Some of the more general questions are: How much should you tell them? How am I supposed to answer their questions? Should we talk to the children one on one, or together? Should just one parent inform the children of the divorce, or should each of the parents be a part of the discussion?
Make a Plan to Tell Children About Divorce
Getting a divorce does not mean you aren’t still their parents. It’s critical to sit down and devise a unified plan. Make a plan to sit down with your children to discuss the upcoming changes and provide support.
Timing is Everything
It’s critical to find the ideal time to have a conversation with your children. Decide on a time and day when there are some to no activities or previous commitments planned. This will give them plenty of time to process and understand the discussion completely.
Love, Support and Understanding
Divorce can impact children in quite surprising ways. It’s critical for your children to know your divorce has positively nothing to do with them. When telling your children about divorce, reassure them that it was not because of anything that they have said or done. Heedful words and respect should be of great significance throughout this conversation.
Letting your children know about divorce will be emotionally enough. You undoubtedly don’t want to add the nasty details of why your marriage has broken down to add to their stress. Let them know them in age-appropriate language that they can comprehend. Obviously, you would not explain your divorce to your pre-teen in the same way you would for your 3-year-old.
Children need to come away from this discussion, knowing that:
- You each still love them, and that that fact won’t change and is never going to, no matter what
- You each tried to work things out prior to choosing to get a divorce
- Nevertheless, of who lives where – you’re still all a family
- Anything and everything they might be feeling – irritation, grief, fear – is normal to feel and completely fine
One of the more common mistakes parents make, is that it only takes one discussion to tell children about divorce. Parents need to expect to have multiple discussions with their children about divorce and the ways it might change their lives moving forward.
Children might not totally understand or deal with the information right away. They are going to need to deal with the divorce in their own time, at their own terms. Never badger children to discuss about how they might be feeling. Alternatively, be supportive and try and make them comfortable when approaching you when they’re ready.
Discussing With Your Children About the Collaborative Process
Parents that decide on the collaborative process may avoid oppositional relationships and divorce in a more productive, peaceful way. Couples work with collaborative divorce professionals from a plethora of fields that can offer support and guidance along the way. Many of those professionals might even be able to talk with the children to provide them with a voice in the process.
- Monica Donaldson StewartMonica Donaldson Stewart is the managing attorney for the law firm of Donaldson Stewart PC. (2019, October 25). How to tell kids about divorce. Best Legal Choices. https://bestlegalchoices.com/how-to-tell-kids-about-divorce/.
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