One of the most complicated and emotional conversations you will ever have with your children is the discussion about your divorce. Breaking this news to your kids can seem daunting and overwhelming, but it is important to discuss what is happening in a personal and face-to-face manner. No matter the ages of your children or the reasons for your divorce, it will benefit the entire family if you prepare well for this conversation.
The right way to approach this conversation depends on your kids and your family dynamics. No one knows your children like you do, and by considering and preparing for this conversation ahead of time, you may be able to help your kids avoid some of the hurt and stress they may feel at the news of their parents’ divorce. This conversation is important, and it can set the tone for the next few months for your kids.
Before you have this conversation
As you prepare to have this conversation, it may help to remember that this is not the time to speak negatively about the other parent or go into detail that may be inappropriate for your children to hear. Instead, the focus should remain on your kids and what will help them during this difficult time. Some tips for making this conversation go smoothly and as easily as possible include the following:
- Plan ahead for what you will say. This will keep you from saying too much or saying something that could be detrimental to your children.
- Have the other parent present for the conversation as this will allow you to present a united front. This will assure your kids that you will both remain active parents.
- Explain to your kids why the divorce is happening, but in a way and using terms that are age appropriate.
- Explain to your kids what will happen in the near future, such as a potential move, one parent moving out of the home and other changes.
- Allow your kids to express their emotions, ask questions and even be angry. These are all normal things for kids to experience.
Your divorce involves you and your spouse, but it will significantly impact your kids as well. It is important not to minimize the potential difficulty this decision can have on the youngest members of the family, but instead, you can focus on prioritizing your kids and putting their needs first. This is critical at every step, from the initial conversation to the finalization of your custody order.