Think of all the stress, frustration, fear and sadness you have likely felt leading up to the decision to divorce. Most people are overwhelmed with emotion during this time. As a parent, you offer your children stability; they look at you and your partner for guidance about the world. Divorce means change for your family and your children need your help understanding what this change means for their future.
- Before you break the news to your children, schedule a meeting with the family therapist to discuss the best way to tell them you are getting divorced.
- Both you and your spouse should make an outline of the conversation you plan to have with your kids.
- Choose a date that won’t conflict with any other important activities in your child’s lives such as tests, plays, dance performances or other events.
During the Discussion
- Children will have different development levels of understanding based on their ages, when you discuss the divorce, try to be as age-appropriately honest as possible.
- Refrain from bad-mouthing the other parent or painting them in a negative light. Explain that the divorce was a joint decision.
- Reassure your kids that your divorce is not their fault.
- Assure them that both parents will continue to be in their lives and that you both love them.
- Understand that they will have different reactions to this news. Some children will express their feelings with tears and sadness, others will become angry, do your best to be comforting and reassuring to them.
- Anticipate that your kids will have more questions for you after the discussion. Try to remain open to the discussion as they are likely processing the information daily.
- Don’t make your divorce about who was bad and who was good. Instead, focus on providing your child with the support they need going forward.