Knowing how to talk to your children about divorce can help you and your former partner provide the support needed to help your kids navigate through this difficult process. A few simple tips can make a big difference in the ability of your children to understand and adjust to the new situation. Here are five proven strategies for explaining the divorce process to your children.
Allow Plenty of Time
Choosing a time without any major distractions or scheduling problems is essential to provide your children with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and for you to calm their fears. Your kids will typically have concerns about their future living arrangements, where they will go to school and how much time they will have with each of their parents during and after the divorce. Be ready to answer these questions and to soothe any worries your children may have about their own well-being after the divorce.
Present a United Front
Even if you and your former partner are not on the best of terms, it is usually preferable to break the news to your children together. This will allow you to demonstrate that both you and your former partner intend to continue to be part of each child’s life now and after the divorce process is completed. By letting your children know the news in a unified and calm way, you can lower their stress levels during this difficult time.
Avoid Open Hostility
Divorce can be difficult for all parties. Hurt feelings and blame for the breakdown of the relationship can make it difficult for you and your former partner to communicate calmly about your divorce. Most experts recommend, however, that you avoid saying negative things about your former partner to your children during any discussions about divorce. You and your co-parent will be sharing the responsibility for your children for years to come. Keeping things civil during the divorce will help you establish the best foundation for your children’s future happiness.
Watch for Signs of Trouble
Children may act out or become depressed after you talk to them about your divorce. Keeping a close eye on their behaviors during the days, weeks and months after you speak to them about your plans to divorce will allow you to act quickly to help them cope. It may also be helpful to schedule a conference with the teachers of your children to let them know about your divorce and to ensure that they are aware of the extenuating circumstances for your children.
Consider the Age of Your Children
Younger children do not need the same level of detail about living arrangements and other issues related to divorce. Simply letting them know that you and your former partner are not getting along and that you will be living in separate homes is usually enough for these younger children. Older children may have many more questions about where they will go to school and with whom they will live. Making sure that children of all ages feel secure and safe during the divorce process is essential to ensure the best outcomes for your family.
Keeping these five tips in mind can allow you to navigate your divorce more easily and can help your children weather the process in the most positive way possible.