Having a Difficult Conversation
Divorce is never pleasant to discuss with anyone, let alone children. But it's important that they hear it from you directly, rather than finding out secondhand or worse, not at all. If you're having a hard time trying to tell your children about divorce, don't worry —you're not alone. Keep reading to learn several tips for breaking the news to your kids in a way that is sensitive and respectful.
1. Choose the Right Time and Place
You'll want to choose a time and place that is comfortable for everyone involved. You may want to sit down with your spouse and agree on how you're going to tell the children together. This can help make sure that both of you are on the same page about what will be said.
It's generally best to avoid telling the children about the divorce right before bedtime or before they have to go to school. This can help them process the information and gives them time to ask questions. You may want to tell them on a weekend so that they have time to adjust.
Once you've chosen when you're going to tell them, it's important to find a comfortable place to do it. This could be in your home, in a park, or even at a restaurant. Choose somewhere where you won't be interrupted and where everyone can sit down and talk.
If possible, try to avoid breaking the news while you're in the middle of an argument with your spouse. This can make it seem like you're using the divorce as a way to hurt each other. Instead, wait until you're both calm and can have a constructive conversation about what's happening.
2. Be Honest About What's Happening
It's important to be honest with your children about what's happening. They may have a lot of questions, and they deserve honest answers. Try to avoid saying things like "We're getting a divorce because mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore." Instead, explain that sometimes grown-ups need to live apart, but that it doesn't mean they love their children any less.
If you can, try to tell your children together. This way, they can hear both of your perspectives and know that you're both on the same page. It might be tough, but it's important to remain calm and supportive of one another in front of your kids. They're already going through a lot, and seeing their parents fight will only make it worse.
3. Prepare for Tough Questions
Your children are going to have a lot of questions, and they might not be easy ones to answer. They're going to want to know why you're getting divorced, how it will affect them, and if you still love them. It's okay if you need some time to think about your answers. Just let them know that you'll get back to them as soon as you can.
Remember that your children will be trying to process and adjust to this news. They might not be ready to talk about it right away, and that's okay. Just let them know that you're there for them when they're ready to talk.
4. Reassure Them That You Love Them
No matter how old your children are, they will need reassurance that you both still love them. They may blame themselves for the divorce or think that they could have done something to stop it. It's important to tell them over and over that this isn't their fault and that you both will always love them. You might say something like, "Mommy and daddy are getting a divorce, but we will always love you."
If you have younger children, it's also important to explain how this change will affect their daily lives. For example, if they'll be spending less time with one parent, let them know how often they'll see that parent and what activities they can do together. Older children may want more details about why you're getting divorced, so be prepared to answer their questions as best you can. But always emphasize that no matter what, they are loved.
5. Get Help For Your Child
If your children seem withdrawn or angry after you tell them about the divorce, it's OK to seek professional help. A therapist can provide support and guidance for both you and your children as you all adjust to this new reality. Talking about how you're feeling with a therapist can also be helpful for you; divorce is a major life change, and it's normal to feel sad, scared, or angry. Seek help from a therapist if you need it, and remember that your children are taking their cues from you. If you stay calm and positive, they're more likely to do the same.
Telling your children about your divorce is never easy, but with these tips, you can help make the conversation a little bit easier. Just remember to stay calm, be honest, and emphasize that your children are loved no matter what. If you need help, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance. Your child's well-being is always the most important thing.
If you have questions about child custody or need help, know that the team at Assalone & Associates is here for you. When it takes a village to solve your family law problem, we are that village. Learn more about how we can help or schedule a consultation by calling (401) 589-5599 or by visiting our website.