Divorce is tough on all involved, including kids, and you need to use care and caution when talking to your kids about the situation. You can keep your impending divorce from wreaking havoc on your children’s lives in a few ways, and the first step is to talk to them openly and honestly.
Take these nine tips to heart when talking to your kids about your upcoming divorce.
1. Keep a United Front
Talk to the children with your spouse about the divorce, and don’t ever say anything negative about the other in front of your kids. Better yet, don’t discuss any complications you run into in your divorce or any adult things around your children.
2. Don’t Let Them Hear About It Elsewhere
Whenever you and your significant other decide to talk with your kids about the divorce, don’t let them hear it from someone else. Some families believe in sharing the news with just the older kids, but that puts an undue and unfair burden on these kids. Tell them all, preferably at the same time.
3. Define Divorce
Some kids may not understand what divorce means; make sure that they actually know what a divorce is. Try to define what you are doing in terms they can understand. The word may be associated with something worrisome or scary, so try to put their minds at ease a bit.
4. Don’t Place Blame
Do not play the blame-game or get caught assigning blame for any contributing factors of your divorce with the children. Don’t blame your soon-to-be ex, and ask them to do the same for you. Kids will remember the negative things that are said in anger or haste.
5. Reassure and Reassure Again
Reiterate and repeat that the children are not at fault in this situation. Kids can be deepthinkers, and they may take on a lot of guilt associated with your divorce. Make sure that they know you both love them and that they will be taken care of.
6. Consider Their Ages
Until age five, children are self-involved and unaware of the world beyond them in most cases. When talking to children in this age group, reassurance that they are safe and loved is key. They might be looking at the direct impact on their security, so assure them that they are safe.
7. Stick to a Schedule
Whenever you tell your child about the divorce, stick to your usual routine. Kids will feel more secure and comfortable when you keep things on schedule and predictable.
8. Buy a Book
Having trouble talking about it? Try reinforcing your point with an age-appropriate book about divorce. This could help you outline your talking points or get through an emotional situation.
9. Don’t Overcomplicate the Issue
Discuss what you know about the divorce with your children, but try not to speculate about the future. Remain present-oriented and assure your kids they are loved and secure. Keep the conversation simple and brief, whenever possible, but field any questions that your kids might have about things too far down the road.
If you have grown, adult children, take time and care to discuss the divorce with them, using tact and honesty. You don’t want them to surmise or hear about the situation from somebody besides you, so plan a time for a family meeting to share this information.
If you are thinking about divorce, talk to the attorneys at Lowry Law Firm. If you are going through a divorce, talk to your children about the situation. Use these tips to have a meaningful and effective discussion with your children regarding this difficult topic.