Looking for some tips on how to discuss your impending divorce with your kids? We’ve got you covered.
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 a 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 more 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 or kid 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 once. 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 differently to the news of divorce. 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, allow the kids to ask open questions, engage in a conversation with them while you are 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 for 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.