Telling your children about your decision to divorce can be difficult, but it’s absolutely necessary. You and your spouse are eventually going to have to broach the subject with them, and it may be best to do it sooner rather than later. You don’t want them to find out from someone else or through the local grapevine.
That said, you certainly want to make the divorce less emotionally difficult for your children than it might otherwise be. Below are some tips that can help as you talk to your children about your upcoming divorce.
Stay on the same team
Parents should generally children that they are “on the same team” and working together. Another way to put this is demonstrating that you are a “united front.” Even though you’re getting divorced, you both still love your children and want what is best for them, and that is going to be your main focus moving forward. Children may need repeated reassurance.
Filter the information you provide
To some degree, you’ll need to think about the age of your children when determining what they need to know about your divorce. Don’t give them too much information so it feels overwhelming. For younger children, you also don’t need to delve into details. For children of all ages, try to avoid blaming your spouse.
Let them ask questions
Additionally, remember that you’re not just telling your children about the divorce. They’ll likely want to be part of this conversation, too. Let them ask questions and express any concerns that they may have. Make sure that the dialogue works both ways. While doing this, it’s very important to remember that adult concerns are not the same as a child’s concerns. You may be thinking about your financial future, but your child may be primarily concerned with where they’re going to go to school or if they’ll have to move. Be sure to address their concerns and not just your own.
Starting the legal process
You may benefit from speaking with an attorney before you speak with your kids. Being as proactive as possible can help you to safeguard your interests and to give you a better sense of what’s ahead, which you’ll be able to convey to your kids, should they ask or be old enough to generally want to know.