When telling your kids about a divorce, you need to keep in mind that every child is different. You are the only one who truly knows your child well enough to decide the appropriate time and way to tell your child or children about a difference, but here are some of the best general tips for breaking the news about divorce to your children.
Do not keep the divorce a secret until the last minute – It is tempting to keep your pending divorce a secret as long as possible so that your children do not have to deal with the reality of the situation. However, if you decide to wait until the last minute, you run the risk of your children becoming mad that you kept something this big from them. Be on the safe side-tell them as soon as you know.
Tell your child(ren) together with your spouse – Hearing this from both parents might allow the child(ren) to process what is happening more easily. If they hear about a divorce from one parent and not the other, they may not believe what they are hearing.
Explain that the divorce is not their fault – Often our clients tell us that their biggest concern when getting divorced is that their child(ren) will blame themselves for what has happened. Although this is one of the toughest things to deal with, remind your child(ren) that the divorce is NOT their fault.
Admit that this process will be sad and upsetting for everyone – Trying to sugarcoat the divorce process from the get-go might make things more difficult as time progresses. Remind your child(ren) that this will be a tough process, but things will be ok in the end.
Do not discuss your spouse’s problems/issues with the child – This is a pitfall in many divorces. While your children are trying to accept the fact that Mommy and Daddy are not together anymore, they are hearing trash-talking from one side or the other. Remember that fostering a relationship with both parents is very important for their growth and development.
And lastly, reassure your child(ren) that you both still love them and will always be their parents. As simple and common sense as this sounds, make sure to end this conversation with your child(ren) reminding them that you will always be there for them.
If you are facing a divorce in Western Pennsylvania, contact our team at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. We will provide you with the legal representation and guidance you need to help you get through this divorce. Our focus is always on the best interest of our clients and their families, so don’t delay, get in touch with us today!
Source: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry