When parents decide to divorce, one of the toughest and most-dreaded things they need to do is tell their children. While this is never easy, here are a few tips to help you navigate the process.
If at all possible, you and your spouse should jointly tell your children about the pending divorce. This allows you each to hear what the other parent is saying and can help prevent conflicting messages. In addition, it reinforces the message that their feelings and concerns are important to the two of you and that you still love them, even if the two of you will no longer be married.
Have A Plan
Don’t just sit down and start talking without thinking things through. Try to anticipate questions that your child may have and formulate answers in advance. If you and your spouse disagree about a significant issue, try to resolve that matter before you talk to your kids. This, of course, requires you to talk to one another BEFORE you talk to your kids.
Be Aware of Timing
Think about what else is going on in your children’s lives. Learning that your parents are divorcing is difficult and emotionally draining; you don’t want to pile on additional anxiety during an already stressful time. For example, don’t tell your kids that you are getting divorce right before they start a new school year or have end-of-semester exams.
Consult A Professional
Keep in mind that you don’t have to go it alone. If you need help, seek out a social worker or therapist. They can help you anticipate issues that may arise and guide you in how best to discuss divorce with your kids.
The amount of information you provide depends, of course, on the age of your kids, but you should be forthright and address their concerns as honestly as you can. Kids can sense BS and mile away and trying to hide things, even if you are doing it to try to protect them, can lead your children to be distrustful. You don’t need to air dirty laundry or go into unnecessary detail, but you do need to be as straightforward as is appropriate for their age when answering their questions.
Don’t Make Kids Choose Sides
Be especially cautious about doing or saying anything that could make your children to think they need to pick sides. Doing so can be extremely detrimental and have long-term consequences on kids’ mental and emotional health. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that your kids don’t feel like they are being asked to side with one parent over the other.
Let Kids Know That The Divorce Is Not Their Fault
Kids often feel that they are somehow responsible for their parents splitting up. It is important to reassure them that they are not to blame.
To discuss your family law matter, call Kruse Family Law PLLC at 612.231.9865 or email email@example.com.