Earlier this week, we began a discussion about breaking the news of divorce to your children. This is not an easy conversation to have, nor will it be painless. Nonetheless, how you tell your children about the divorce can make a big difference in how well they process and cope with the news.
We’ve already discussed planning what you’re going to say ahead of time and finding the most appropriate time and setting in which to break the news. Today, we’ll share more advice on talking to your kids about divorce, including what you and your spouse can do in the days, weeks and months following the initial conversation.
When planning what to say to your children, it’s important to put yourself in their shoes and think about the world from a child’s perspective. Perhaps the two most important topics to cover with your kids are how the divorce will affect them and reassurance that they are not at fault.
Your kids will be concerned about you and your spouse, but they will likely be most interested in how the divorce will affect life for them. If you already have a temporary parenting plan in place, you can let them know the broad details. These could include:
- Two separate households with equal rules
- Lots of quality time with both mom and dad
- Staying at the same school they are in now (unless other arrangements are necessary)
- Staying in touch with extended family on both sides
You should also reassure your children that the divorce is not their fault in any way; nor does it mean that either parent loves them any less. These sentiments may seem obvious to an adult, but they won’t be to a child.
Finally, be prepared to continue the discussion and to provide additional support for your kids as needed. If they don’t have questions right away, they will certainly have questions and concerns after some time has passed. Make sure that you and your spouse remain a team (cooperative co-parents) as much as possible in order to give your kids the best chance of weathering this difficult transition.
Source: The Huffington Post, “9 Tips for Breaking Bad News to Kids,” Armin Brott, Aug. 4, 2014