Divorce is never an easy topic to discuss, but it can be extremely daunting to think about telling your children that you are getting a divorce. It can be a challenge to prepare for this necessary talk, but there are ways to have this conversation that can make it a little bit easier. Here are some tips to help you through this discussion.
Choose the Appropriate Place and Time
Think about a time in your life when you received shocking news. Do you remember the exact place and time when you were told? Chances are, you have a clear memory of the incident. Remember that this news is likely to be a similar scenario for your children, so it is important to choose a time and place where your children will feel safe.
Home is often the best place to have this talk, for many reasons. When you have to conversation can be more difficult to decide. Often, the start of a quiet weekend can be a good time. You will want to allow your children to have time to process the news, without having to go to school or other activities where they should concentrate. Some children may need less time to process the news than others. Some may be shocked, while others may not be. Some may want a distraction, while others need time alone. You know your children the best, so be sure to take their unique personalities into account when choosing the best time. There is no “right” time, either. All you can do is try to find the best possible time.
Divide and Conquer Isn’t the Best Way
While you may feel it’s best to tell one child at a time, it can potentially be more difficult for your children. If you choose to tell some children before others, you may be juggling kids who are stressed out by keeping this serious news a secret from their siblings with kids who are hurt that they weren’t told sooner. Instead, find a time to gather the whole family together to talk about the divorce.
Keep It Clear, Keep It Simple
Unless your kids are older teens, it is unlikely that they will grasp the complexities of an adult relationship. It can be difficult to boil down all your thoughts and feelings into something your kids can understand, but doing so can help them understand and deal with the news more easily. Remain calm when breaking the news to them. If at all possible, try to work together to share the news and answer questions. Keeping a united front, despite your feelings and fights, can make the process easier.
Something to touch on may include:
- You and your spouse will both be happier after the divorce.
- There will be two homes, and your children will be loved in both of them.
- Both parents will continue to be involved in your children’s lives.
- Your divorce has nothing to do with your children, and it’s not their fault.
- They will still be loved and cared for.
Be There For Them
Even if your children are familiar with other divorced families or had their suspicions, it still can be difficult to hear that their parents are getting divorced. It is likely that they may have dozens of questions, feel worried about their safety and future, or need to be comforted. As a parent, it is important that you try to be there to support your children. You may not know exactly what the future holds or all the answers to your questions, but you can do your best to communicate with your kids and soothe their fears.
Some common questions kids may ask, or may think without asking are:
- Is this my fault?
- Could I have done something to keep my parents together?
- Can I make you get back together now?
- Will you still love me, even if we don’t live together?
- How often will I see my parents?
- Do I have to move?
- Do I have to go to a new school?
- Will we have enough money?
Do your best to tackle these questions, even if they aren’t asked. Be upfront about the new changes you can see coming. Try to minimize disruptions to their daily routine and work to find solutions that cause the least change possible to their lives.
While it might be tempting to wing it and see if you can get through this conversation without a plan, the truth is—it’ll go much smoother with a rough plan. Think about what topics you and your spouse want to tackle. Who will speak when? Will one parent try to answer all the questions, or will we split the job? What are the most important points to share? What information do we share? Answering a few questions ahead of time can help the conversation to cover what you need to, and prevent you from looking like you don’t know what you’re trying to say. If your children see that you understand what is happening, they are more likely to feel safe and trust you.
Your divorce is likely to be a challenge for your whole family, but that doesn’t mean you need to face it alone. Our Tulsa divorce attorney can help guide your family through the complicated and confusing process of your divorce. Let the Bundren Law Firm P.C. be your advocate during this trying time.
Schedule a consultation to discuss your case. Contact our team at (918) 992-3300.