Are you and your spouse considering filing for divorce? Are you unsure of when and how to tell your children? Talking to kids about divorce is never easy, but it is an important conversation to have. All children are entitled to know and it give you the opportunity to let them know that they are not at fault and that this will not change the fact that you are a family and that you will never stop loving them. Whether you are telling them that you are simply separating or getting a divorce, it is important that you think through what you are going to say during this conversation so that you are poised and diplomatic about it. Psychology experts suggest that you abide by the following guidelines when having the divorce discussion with your kids:
- Try and have both parents there when you inform your children- By having both of your present for the conversation, it presents a united front. This can help your children understand that you both agree with this decision and that you made it together. While talking with your children, be sure to avoid saying any disrespectful thing about the other parent. In order to do this, you will need to actively put aside any hurt feelings, anger or resentment that you have towards the other parent. This is for the children's sake and it is in the best interest of the family as a whole.
- Keep your cool and avoid playing the blame game- As you sit down with your children, you must first prepare yourself so that you can remain calm and collected during the conversation. If you start off by blaming the other parent or putting them at fault, it could jeopardize their relationship with the other parent. Although you want to tell them the truth, try to avoid making personal stabs about the other parent.
- Give them a clear and honest reason- Divorce and legal separation both cause significant changes in the life of children. That is why it is important that they understand the reason why these changes are happening. Once you give them a reason, stick to it.
- Talk through the changes that they can expect- Divorce affects everyone involved, especially your children. They are going to have to make major adjustments and by talking it out, you can help prepare them for that transition. Be specific and talk to your kids about any new changes at school and at home. Talk about which parent they will live with, how often they will see the other parent and things of that nature. If the children will only be living with one parent, it is important that you tell them these details so that they know how to maintain a close relationship with the noncustodial parent as well.
- Reassure your children that you love them and that this is not their fault- Children often blame themselves for their parents' divorce and they think that they are at fault for what it happening. That is why you must clearly explain that your love for them is unconditional. You should also reinforce the real reason as to why you and your spouse are getting the divorce. It is always helpful to show your kids constant affection whether that means hugs and kisses or just quality time together.
- Be understanding and sensitive to how your children feel- Your children may have some very hurt and confused reactions and it is vital that you acknowledge their feelings. For many kids, the news of a divorce can catch them completely off guard. In some cases, you may get no reaction at all, and that could mean that they are still processing the changes to come. Try and be sensitive to their feeling during this difficult time and listen to them when they share how they feel.
- Remember that time heals all- Your children are going to need time to adjust and accept the big news you are telling them. They will not be happy about it overnight, but hopefully over time they can learn to adjust and see the bright side of things. You should also try to welcome any questions that they may have. By clearing up their confusion, you could speed up the process of healing and help them to move forward.
If you have any other questions, or you would like to speak to a Valencia divorce attorney from our firm, please do not hesitate to call (877) 816-0183.