How to Tell Your Kids About Your Upcoming Divorce
There comes a time after you and your spouse agree to divorce that you then have to start letting family and friends know about your plans. This is not typically an easy task, particularly when you have children involved.
While children are generally considered to be astoundingly resilient, how you tell your kids about your divorce can have a significant impact to their current and future selves. Take time to develop your plan for sharing and leverage some of the tips below.
Pick the Right Words and Location, and Consider Your Child(ren)’s Age and Maturity Level
It goes without saying that a preschooler will handle the news about a divorce much differently than a teenager. The following are general tips and should be adjusted based upon your child(ren)’s age and maturity level. It goes without saying that a preschooler will handle the news about a divorce much differently than a teenager. The following are general tips and should be adjusted based upon your child(ren)’s age and maturity level.
- In most situations, parents should tell the kids about the divorce together, at the same time. Both parents need to take responsibility for the decision to divorce.
- Avoid giving children too many details. Instead of details, children primarily need to know that they are still loved and how the divorce will affect them in the short run.
- Consider the environment in which you’ll share the news and avoid restaurants or public locations. (Who wants to get that kind of news in public?)
- Open a dialogue with children by inviting them to ask questions. Be willing to come back later to let them ask questions after they’ve had some time to think about things.
- Reinforce with the children that the decision to divorce is an adult decision. It’s common for children to devise ways to bring their parents back together, or they may think they did something wrong which caused the decision to divorce.
- As they absorb their new reality, it is normal to observe clinginess, irritability, withdrawal and/or regression in development.
- Be careful telling your kids, “Mom and Dad will still be good friends” unless you truly believe you will be able to model an amicable relationship. Think about how your children may define friendship. It includes spending time with a friend, sharing secrets, going on outings to the movies and mall, and having overnight stays. Better to say, “Mom and Dad are still focused on loving and caring for you.”
- Once children are informed, make every effort to maintain their daily routines so they have a sense of normalcy in part of their lives.
Break the News With Care
Regardless of their age, your divorce is your child(ren)’s loss too. So, plan carefully before breaking the news. And if you and your spouse want the best process to ensure a peaceful co-parenting relationship post-divorce, give us a call. At Smarter Divorce Solution, we specialize in a divorce process that is cooperative, collaborative, and family focused. We truly offer Divorce Done Differently.