Talking to kids about changes to their family structure and routine is one of the hardest aspects of ending a marriage. Every child will inevitably need time to process the information, and your divorce attorney can help you guide your kids through this significant life event. The following tips can help you lessen the negative impact of the news.
3 Tips for Talking to Your Children About Divorce
1. Tell Them Together
Divorce can be confusing for kids, especially if this is the first time they’re hearing of the concept. Having everyone on the same page reduces the risk of them receiving mixed or conflicting messages about the situation. Excluding cases involving abuse, addiction, or abandonment, divorcing parents should break the news to their kids together. Presenting a united front will show the kids that you’ll still be a family no matter what.
Additionally, avoid having the conversation when the family is preparing for an activity. Your child may be distracted in the moment and not pay attention or lose interest in going to dance class or swim lessons that day.
2. Open the Floor for Questions
Your children will probably have a few questions upon hearing the news. They might want to know why you’re ending the marriage, for example, and they’ll probably ask what’s going to happen to them. Before the conversation, talk to your divorce attorney and then your spouse about what the kids can expect during the proceedings and after the court finalizes the agreement.
As for answering their questions about the relationship, try to do so in an honest but age-appropriate way. If you’re certain you won’t ever reconcile, for example, don’t lead them to believe you might. If they have logistical questions about how their lives will change, and you and your spouse are still working out the details, it’s best to be honest and say you don’t know yet but that you’re prioritizing their needs.
3. Reiterate That You Love Them
It’s common for children to blame themselves when their parents divorce. After explaining that the marriage simply didn’t work out, remind your kids that you love them, that you’ll always be a family, and that there was nothing they could’ve done to prevent the breakup.
Some kids also act out or withdraw socially when dealing with stress. They’ll need your compassion and attention more than ever when navigating these new feelings.
The Law Office of Christopher J. Swatosh understands all the emotional, logistical, and financial stress that comes with ending a marriage. That’s why he gives each and every client personalized and attentive counsel. Located in Ava, MO, his practice is backed by more than two decades of experience. To discuss your situation with a knowledgeable divorce attorney, get in touch through his website or call (417) 683-2987.