When something as major as divorce enters their young lives, children often feel a shift in how they perceive their family unit and the world around them. To best support them during this time, divorcing spouses need to set aside their differences and put their kids first. The divorce attorneys at Pepping, Balk, Kincaid & Olson, LTD. in Silvis, Illinois, want to help you do this. Below, they answer a few frequently asked questions about how to talk to children about the end of a marriage.
Divorce Attorneys Answer 4 FAQ About Discussing the End of Marriage With Children
When Is the Best Time to Break the News?
Once you and your spouse have made a firm decision to start divorce proceedings, it's time to tell the kids. But children are perceptive creatures, and in some instances, they may suspect early on that a split is imminent and ask you directly. In such cases, tell the truth. If no decisions have yet been made about whether divorce is on the horizon, tell your kids that nothing final has been reached.
What Should We Say?
First of all, always make this a family conversation, so all spouses should be involved in the discussion. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex don’t want to be in the same room together, this is a time to leave the acrimony outside and the divorce attorneys in their offices. You want to present a united front and show kids they have the support and presence of both parents. Use age-appropriate language, and don't assign blame or badmouth one another. Don't force your kids to carry the weight of your marital issues — in other words, refrain from revealing the more intimate details. Reassure them frequently throughout the discussion and afterward that they are loved by both parents and are in no way to blame for what’s happening.
How Can I Most Support My Child?
Just being there for your child is a strong support system for them. Even if your schedule is hectic, carve out time when you can spend time together. Also, encourage them to talk about what's on their mind. Let them say and feel what they need and want. Don't censor their experience — it is theirs, and they are entitled to it. It is also helpful if your children see you and your spouse working together as a team. If they witness two mature adults handling situations well, they'll likely take a cue from that and feel like they’re on more solid ground as these new changes come into their lives.
Do My Kids Need Therapy to Deal With the Divorce?
There's no easy answer here — it's going to depend on the individual child. Some handle divorce with remarkable ease, and others feel as if their world is collapsing. Watch your children carefully and gauge their moods and feelings. If you suspect they could benefit from some additional, professional support, therapy may be a good idea. Remember that any child — and any adult, for that matter — can find some value in sessions with a quality therapist.
By facilitating open communication, being honest, and making time for your kids, you can be confident that they'll handle all aspects of the divorce. For the legal aspects of ending a marriage, trust Pepping, Balk, Kincaid & Olson, LTD. to look out for you. They represent clients in a variety of family law matters, as well as bankruptcy and real estate law issues. Call (309) 755-5096, visit them online, or contact them on Facebook to arrange a consultation with a divorce attorney.