When a couple is heading toward divorce, it doesn’t only affect them, but it has an impact on family members on both sides. If they have children, then a divorce will affect them more than others, and they may seem angry or sad.
If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, telling your kids can be difficult but it must be done. Use these tips to decide how you will approach the topic of divorce with them.
Be Age Appropriate
When sitting down with children to tell them about divorce, use age appropriate language and don’t burden them with the reasons behind it. Younger children are not going to understand the reasons behind the decision and their primary concern will be who is going to take care of them.
As children get older, they will understand more, so it’s important to avoid blame. According to research, three things will help children adjust well to the situation:
- A stable relationship with both parents, if the circumstances make it possible.
- The reliable presence of both parents in their lives.
- Minimizing their exposure to conflicts.
Don’t Assign Blame
Even though it could be difficult to do, try not to assign blame for the divorce on the other parent. The goal shouldn’t be to make children decide who is the better parent but to reassure them that both parents will still be in their lives.
Also, emphasize that the divorce isn’t their fault. Some kids will assume it was something they did wrong to cause the split, so they may feel guilty. However, both parents should make sure their kids know they are not to blame for the marriage splitting up.
Plan the Conversation
It is ideal for both parents to be present for telling children about divorce and for both to reassure them of their safety and security. Plan what to tell them, how to tell them, and don’t make them choose between you.
Even though divorces can be very emotional, and spouses can be angry with each other, their goal should be to try to do what’s best for their children. When a spouse is moving out of the home, speak to family law firms, like CLW lawyers, about temporary custody arrangements before the talk.
Part of providing a stable foundation is letting children know where they are going to live and that both parents will still be in their lives.
Expect Strong Reactions
A child’s reaction to a divorce may take you by surprise, but if you prepare for them, then they can be better handled. A child’s reaction will depend on their age. Very young children may seem sad but almost unaware of what is happening because they don’t understand the situation.
Some young children will be insecure, they may blame themselves, and kids who are older may be angry. By preparing for the conversation, you can address their concerns thoughtfully, and reassure them that everything will be okay.
The most important aspect of a divorce may be reassuring your children that they will be taken care of, both parents still love them, and to ensure their safety. The best way to address the situation is by being as honest as possible with your kids.
Work together and plan the conservation, so both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can prepare your children for the changes in their lives.