For most couples, the decision to divorce is a big one that is preceded by a great amount of thought. Definitively deciding to pursue this option sets off a chain of events that can be stressful for all involved. When children, who are old enough to understand what is going on, are part of the family, sharing this news can be hard. While the conversation will of course vary depending on the age of the child, in this post, we will provide some general tips on how to tell them the news.
The discussion should involve both parents and regardless of the reasons behind the split, both parents should avoid placing blame on the other. Ultimately this is not relevant to a kid, and the focus should be helping the child feel secure. Instead, using simple language, care should be taken to let them know they are not the reason.
Kids should also know that it is okay for them to feel sad about the change. Since most children want to have their parents together—even when the relationship is clearly difficult—it is not surprising that they will be upset. Letting them know that they are not the only ones to feel sadness about the matter could be beneficial.
In the course of the conversation, an effort should be made to make them feel secure. Having the conversation at a time of day that is calm and free of time restrictions can help with this. So too could providing clear information regarding what they can expect in the future when it comes to spending time with each parent. In most cases, the conversation should occur before any big changes occur.
The divorce process does not need to be adversarial. A lawyer may be of assistance in keeping the focus on the children during a divorce.