Deciding to get a divorce can be a monumental, life-changing choice that will change life for your entire family. It’s hard enough to think about moving forward in your life without your partner but, it’s even more devastating to contemplate having to talk to your children about a split. Over 50% of all marriages end in divorce before their 10th anniversary. That means there are many parents who have had to have this type of uncomfortable and upsetting conversation with their kids. It’s not a family meeting that you will be looking forward to but it is necessary.
Divorce affects couples of every age, every background, and in every state. It doesn’t matter if you are in the wilds of Alaska or the deserts of Arizona, dealing with your divorce in a way that is comforting and open with your kids will be tough. Once you talk to a Scottsdale based divorce lawyer or an attorney near you, it’s time to sit down and talk as a family.
There is no perfect plan for how to tell your kids that you are getting a divorce. The most important factor is to stay calm, present a united front and do everything that you can to comfort your children’s fear. Follow some of these tips as you prepare to discuss your divorce with your children.
Make it a Family Affair
It is important to have a “divorce talk” together as a family. Telling each child individually or with only the presence of one parent is not recommended. Isolating one child with the news can leave them feeling blame or like they have been let in on an unwanted secret.
Regardless of the feelings of hurt or resentment that exist between you and your partner, you should try your best to present a united front. It is a mistake to place blame for the divorce on one partner alone. Let your children know that this is a decision that you have made together. Pointing fingers and laying blame can easily be transferred to your children and be reflected in their attitude towards that parent.
Plan Well Before You Talk
Don’t try to wing it when you talk to your kids about your divorce. This is a serious and complex conversation that takes a bit of planning. Keep it simple and try to avoid going into any details about how or why you have come to this decision. This is the kind of talk that will be filled with emotion and lots of questions. Going in with a basic plan can help you talk more confidently with your children.
The most upsetting part of divorce for children is the changes that will happen in their daily lives. Kids are naturally egocentric and concerned with how things will affect them first before anything else. Once you have made it clear that the divorce has no bearing on your feelings of love for them, it’s time to reassure them that their life will continue on with minimal changes. Your ability to reduce their fears about their lives being turned upside down will go a long way to helping them to adjust.
Answer their Questions
When you have the divorce talk with your kids you need to be prepared for a lot of questions, some of them uncomfortable. Let your kids know right from the start that you are open to anything they want to ask. Again, it’s not necessary to go into detail about issues in your relationship, but you should give them enough information to address their fears.
Divorce, for children, often feels like the end of their family unit. It is important to work with your partner to assure your kids that the ending of your marriage doesn’t mean the end of the family. Honest and open communication between both parents and the kids can help you to navigate this very difficult time.
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