Telling your children about your divorce might be one of the most difficult discussions you’ll ever have in your life. However, if you plan in advance, you can better prepare for handling this tough conversation. You and your partner really need to work together on this, so try to put aside your differences for the sake of the children. You’ll need to be a team to prepare how you’ll talk to the kids, and answer their questions. You should also try to tell them together. Reassure them that they will adjust. Finally, give them space to absorb the new information. It will be painful, but preparing in advance can make this conversation more bearable.
Telling Your Children About Your Divorce: Plan In Advance
Telling your children about your divorce needs to be a team effort between you and your spouse. You might disagree on a lot, but you’ll need to put aside differences in order to have a healthy conversation with your kids. You’ll need to decide the narrative that you’re going to tell the children about why you are divorcing. You don’t need to get into all the details, but a general idea of how to tackle that question without blaming can be helpful. Also, try to prepare for their questions. They may want to know which parent they’ll be living with, where they’ll be staying if they’ll be changing schools or moving. All of these are valid concerns and you should try to have an answer ready to go for them.
Tell Them Together
Telling your children about your divorce is best done together. That way, you’ll be able to share with them the reasons without playing the blame game. They can ask all the questions they want, and you and your spouse can answer them together. They need to see that you are both in agreement that this is the best course of action for your family. It also shows that you can work together and that you’ll both be committed to making things as smooth as possible. If your children are of similar ages, try to tell them at the same time so that they don’t hear about it from a sibling.
The absolute most important thing when telling your children about your divorce is to reassure them. Reassure them that you love them and that you are going to make the divorce as smooth as you can for them. You’ll of course reassure them that they played no part in the reason for the divorce. That there is nothing they did to cause it. And that there was nothing they could do to prevent it. Also reassure them that even though it will be hard, they will adjust to this new life. You’ll need to reassure them many times throughout the process.
Give Them Space
Finally, after telling your children about your divorce, give them space. Everybody needs time to adjust to hearing life-changing news. They’ll need to think out all of what this means for their lives. They’ll probably have many questions and concerns. Even though it’s painful, try to always be open and willing to talk to them about your divorce. Some children may shut down for a little while they process. Reassure them that you would like to talk to them whenever they feel like it. Let them react how they need to react because they have a right to their feelings.
It will be hard. It will be painful. But telling your children about your divorce will ultimately go better if you prepare in advance. Make a plan with your partner about how to tell them and how to answer their questions. Find a non-blaming narrative that is age-appropriate. Sit down as a family sometime when you can really take your time with the conversation. Reassure them that they will adjust and that the divorce is not their fault. And finally, give them space to absorb this new vision of their lives. While it’s difficult to have these conversations, in the end, you are trying to do what is best for them. They’ll be happier with two parents who co-parent in a healthy way than they would be with two parents living in a toxic marriage.