How to Help Children Adjust to the Idea of Divorce
If you have kids, getting a divorce becomes that much harder. You need to decide how you’ll tell them about your split, what’s going to happen, and make sure they feel loved and supported even when things are changing. You can make the process a little simpler by following these four tips for talking to your child about divorce.
1. Be Honest but Not Detailed
Your kids deserve to know the truth about why you’re getting a divorce, but they don’t need the nitty-gritty details. Keep your explanation of the situation simple, straightforward, and free of blame or accusations.
For example, you can tell your child, “We’re getting a divorce because we don’t love each other anymore, and we don’t want to fight all the time.” You don’t need to include the details of what you’re fighting about, whether that’s cheating, money, or something else. Your kids are smart, and they already know something is wrong. Being honest but not detailed gives them the relevant information without forcing them to face adult problems that they’re not prepared for.
2. Work with Your Spouse
You may be divorcing your partner, but it’s unlikely that you’re ending their parental relationship with your kids. You’ll be co-parenting and sharing custody at least sometimes, so it’s worthwhile to maintain a united front. Before you talk to your children about your separation, talk to each other about what you’ll say. You can get your message straight and back each other up.
If possible, tell your children together, too. This will help you avoid contradicting each other or confusing your children. It also shows them that neither of you is going to be disappearing from their lives.
3. Encourage Your Child to Talk About Their Feelings
Divorce is a scary time for many kids. One of the fundamental relationships in their lives is suddenly ending. Make it easy for your children to talk about and express their feelings about your separation. When they can talk to you about feeling scared or upset, you can help them feel more comfortable through the entire process.
4. Explain and Demonstrate Your Love
It’s all too common for a child to fear that their parents will stop loving them the way they stopped loving each other. Make sure you tell them that that’s the last thing that’s going to happen.
More importantly, show them that. It can be easy to get lost in your own head during a divorce. Make sure to dedicate time to giving your kids the attention they need without thinking about your separation. Not only will this help you relax, but it will also show your children that some things will never change.
Make Your Children Your Priority
When you’re separating from your spouse, you need to keep your kids in mind. They can and should be kept in the loop but not forced to hear about the adult drama. By being truthful, working with your ex-partner, talking to your children about their feelings, and reassuring them that they’re always loved, you help them understand what’s going on. If you need help navigating your divorce with children, get in touch with a qualified family law attorney. They can help you get the split resolved quickly and keep your kids involved and protected.