As any divorce attorney can attest, the end of a marriage is often most turbulent and stressful for the children involved. For this reason, it is crucial that divorcing parents properly prepare and plan for how they tell the children about the impending divorce. Below are a few tips given by divorce attorneys to help parents break the news and better protect the entire family unit in the process.
4 Pointers for Discussing Divorce With Your Kids
1. Wait Until You Are 100% Sure
Don't introduce any more upheaval and pressure on the kids than is absolutely necessary. And refrain from pulling them into the drama that's occurring with your spouse; leave that for the divorce attorney's office. One way to help accomplish both of these tasks is to wait until you are 100% positive that divorce is imminent before telling the kids. Both spouses should be absolutely certain that divorce is the next logical step.
2. Be Civil & United
It's no secret that divorce can be messy and acrimonious. But for the sake of the children, make a concerted effort to be civilized, calm, and collected. Don't argue with your spouse in front of the kids, and never, ever put them in the middle of any disputes. Also, when it's time to tell them of the divorce, be sure you and your spouse tell them together. This shows a united front and asserts that, while the family is going to undergo some changes, the children still have two parents who love them.
3. Affirm That They Are Not at Fault
Kids have a way of blaming themselves when things go wrong. It's not at all uncommon for the youngest ones in the family to think that they did something to cause the divorce. As a parent, you know better than anyone that this simply isn't true, so state often and repeatedly that the kids are not at fault. Bear in mind that some children may not voice their feelings of self-blame, so it's important that you tell them they are not responsible whether they have confessed to those feelings or not.
4. Welcome Their Questions
Most children have a lot of questions about divorce, and you should make every effort to be honest with them. That doesn't mean you have to give them the unsavory details that led to the divorce, but be up-front about things that will directly affect them. They'll likely want to know where and with whom they will live, where the other parent is going to live, and what birthdays and holidays will be like. Be forthcoming with the kids, welcome their questions, and invite them into the conversation. Family counseling is always a good idea in this type of situation.
By following the above pointers, you can better look after the kids' needs while tending to the details of a divorce. For legal support or guidance at any step of the process, trust The Law Office of Lora Stuart Shortt. For over 19 years, Attorney Shortt has been representing clients throughout Lexington County, South Carolina, in all aspects of family law, including divorce and child custody. Schedule an appointment with a skilled and experienced divorce attorney by calling (803) 520-0455 or messaging her on Facebook.