Last year my marriage was in shambles and we were on the brink of a divorce. As a matter of fact I consulted with a divorce attorney and learned all I needed to know. Divorce can be stressful, confusing and extremely sad for children, regardless of their age, and kids start to have feelings of uncertainty or anger when they think about their parents living apart. While divorce isn’t a great feeling for anyone involved, even when it’s an amicable one, as the parent you can work to help kids cope with divorce as a means to ensure a stable transition for them as they learn to have a positive attitude towards sharing parents who no longer reside together. There will be a lot of bumps and tears along the path, but you can survive discussing divorce with your kids if you follow some of these tips below.
Set the Moment – before you even muster the news to your children think about this defining moment, this memory will stay with them for years to come. As a parent take the time to discuss with your soon to be ex how you will spill the news to your children in a way that won’t traumatize them anymore than necessary.
Think About What you Will Say – as a united front both parents need to come to an agreement on what they will say to their kids when discussing divorce, again this will be a defining moment for your kids so choose your words wisely and be certain to not pass blame to either parent nor kids during this discussion.
Tell All Kids at Once – more often than not parents will select the oldest child to break the news to first, this can lead to trouble with added stress to keep this adult secret from their siblings. Be sure to sit all of the kids down at once to discuss this family unit change at one time, this helps the siblings react together when they hear the news versus adding guilt by one kid knowing first.
Expect Mixed Responses – all kids respond to the news of divorce differently, a younger child may not completely grasp what divorce means while an older child may feel a mixed bag of emotions as they are already dealing with puberty and hormone roller-coasters. Have compassion for how each kid responds and work with them through these emotions.
Allow Open Questions – once you have opened the can of worms that you will be divorcing, allowing the kids to ask open questions, engage in a conversation with them while still thinking about your answers before speaking. Help answer questions in a reassuring and positive light so that your kids can quickly overcome and embrace this change to their best abilities.
Divorce is never an easy subject, it’s heartbreaking to both the parents and the children when a marriage has dissolved, but you can work to follow these tips for discussing divorce with kids as a means to lessen the burden upon them, as you transition into a new lifestyle of co-parenting.
Tomorrow I’ll be discussing how co-parenting can hurt more than you.
Let’s discuss: What other tips can you think of that can help with this sensitive topic?