Tips for Telling Your Children About the Divorce
For parents who are planning to divorce, telling the children is often the most dreaded part of the process. They do not want to hurt their child, but they know that the discussion will be painful. There may be tears, anger, uncomfortable questions, accusations, or the child may simply shut down and shut their parents out. Delaying it will not make it easier, nor will glossing over the truth. However, there are some ways that you can talk to your children – tips and strategies – that may smooth the process, if not initially, then possibly in the long run.
Tell Your Child Together
If you follow only one piece of advice, let it be that you and your spouse sit down and talk to your child about the divorce together. While this might be challenging for parents who have a high-conflict marriage, it is absolutely critical. Everything is about to change, your family is about to split up. In the midst of all of that, your child needs to know that the divorce is mutual, and that there will be some things that do not change – namely that you will both be there for them when things are hard. That starts with sitting down together to tell them about the divorce.
Plan Your Conversation
Since you and your spouse will be telling your child about the divorce together, it is best if you rehearse the conversation ahead of time. You do not have to write a script, but at least having an idea on what you will tell your child, and how you might answer certain questions, can make the process a little easier. At the very least, you should feel more prepared, which can make you less apprehensive. You will also know what should be discussed, and what should not. (Bonus tip: always avoid any blaming one another in front of your child. The divorce may affect your child, but it is not your child's argument/fight/problem to deal with.)
Keep It Age-Appropriate
Lastly, make sure that you keep all conversations about the divorce age-appropriate. For example, your toddler may simply need to know that daddy or mommy is moving out, but that you will both still see them and take care of them. Your teen may need more information. You know your child best, so try to respond as honestly as you can without overloading them with information they do not need. If you do not know the answer yet, that is okay! Simply assure them that everything will get worked out.
You Do Not Have Face to Divorce Alone
Divorce can affect you and your child in many ways – mentally, financially, emotionally – and there are complex aspects that can be extremely difficult to navigate. Thankfully you do not have to take the journey alone. At MKFM Law, we advocate for families, ensuring that the best interest of our clients and their children are protected. Ask how we can help yours today by contacting our DuPage County divorce attorneys today. Call 630-665-7300.