Are you worried to tell your children about your upcoming divorce? Deciding to end your marriage was hard enough, but now you have to break the news to the kids, and you want the process to go as smoothly as possible.
You also want to protect your children. You know divorce can be hard but that kids also tend to adjust well over time. You want to give your children every chance to do so, and you know that starts with the initial conversation.
Here’s how you can put your children first
Throughout every step of the divorce process, it’s important to consider how your actions and words affect your kids. When having the initial conversation, here are a few tips that can help:
- Keep things as simple as you can. You need to consider your children’s ages, and they may be able to handle different levels of complexity.
- Stress that you love them and so does your spouse. That won’t change, despite all other changes that may come in the future.
- Answer their questions. Make sure you’re talking to them, not at them. It’s okay to say “I don’t know,” to a question if you really don’t.
- Do not engage in the “blame game.” In fact, it’s best if you and your spouse have this conversation with the children together, presenting a united front.
- Reassure the kids that your divorce is not their fault, even if it seems obvious to you. Children often worry about this.
Give their concerns enough attention. You may think that having to move out of the neighborhood isn’t a big deal, as you’re an adult who has moved many times. If this is the only place your children have ever lived, though, it could be traumatic for them. Talk about these topics.
As you and your family work through this process, make sure you know exactly what legal steps to take to protect your interests. When children are involved, it’s wise to fully understand your rights and obligations from the very start of your divorce.