Helping Them Hear the Difficult News
Children can struggle after hearing that their parents are getting a divorce. Hearing that the family they’ve grown up under is now dissolving can be incredibly difficult to attempt to process.
How children find out this news can have a significant impact on how they process everything as it unfolds. What you say and how you say it matters; here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for this difficult conversation with your children.
Plan The Time and Place
Perhaps a factor that is not considered as often as it should be is where and when you tell your children about divorce. The location you share this news should take place in a neutral space and not in their bedroom or other space they closely identify with. Additionally, this conversation should not take place early in the morning or late at night nor should it occur on a day such as a holiday or other special occasion.
Plan Your Words
How you share this news and the words you use to communicate it is incredibly vital to plan in advance. This is not the conversation to have in a spur-of-the-moment decision or to just blurt out and hope for the best. You should take time to carefully choose your words.
You should be sure to communicate as clearly as possible without blaming either you or your spouse. You also need to make sure that your children understand and are told several times that what is happening is NOT their fault in any way.
Share This News Together
While your relationship with your spouse might be a bit tense at the time, it’s best to share this difficult news with your children together. Putting the full responsibility of telling your children about your divorce on one parent is a bad idea. It can make either one of you appear to be the “bad guy” in the divorce or as if the parent not present in the conversation does not care about the children. It’s best to sit down and undertake this difficult conversation together.
While there is no guarantee in anything, you can almost be certain that your children will ask you questions about what will happen to them or to both you and your spouse. They might not even fully understand what it means to get a divorce. Go into this conversation fully anticipating that your children will be curious and inquire more to try and process the news they just heard.
Know that just because your children have questions does not mean that you have to have all the answers. There may be reasons for your divorce that your children might not fully be able to understand yet. While you should not lie to your children, you may have to simply ask your children to trust that you and your spouse know what you are doing and that it is what is best for the family.
Ensure They Are Not At Fault
As mentioned earlier, you must do everything you can to ensure that your children know that they are not to blame for the dissolution of your marriage. It’s very easy for children to feel as if they are responsible for something bad happening to their family and immediately begin to blame themselves for your divorce. Communicate over and over again that they did nothing wrong and that you are getting a divorce from each other, not your children.
Are You Ready for Divorce?
Before you share the news of your divorce with your children, you want to be sure that you are ready to move forward. If you have questions or are unsure, you should consult with an attorney who understands divorce law and can give you the guidance you need to move forward. The team at Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress is ready to help you work through the divorce process. We know this is a difficult time; we will do everything we can to ease your mind as we work through your divorce together.
To learn more about divorce or to speak with one of our attorneys, call us at (817) 497-8148 or visit us online.