How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce
One of the most difficult aspects for parties in a divorce is telling their children that your marriage and their family are breaking apart. Thinking about how to best tell kids about divorce can help reduce the affect the breakup has on their lives.
How to Tell your Children about Divorce
How you tell your children about divorce depends to a large extent on their age and emotional maturity. Very small children may not realize what is happening. Older children may think the divorce is their fault and may require reassurance. Teenagers may pretend that they are unconcerned and unaffected by the news, while bottling up their emotions. In any case, your children will benefit from a calm, honest, and age-appropriate discussion of the changes they can expect in their lives from your divorce.
- Plan your discussion with your children in advance. If possible, both parents should be present when they discuss the divorce it with their children, and they should prepare what they intend to say in advance. The parents should also agree that, while they may have pent-up emotions and even hostility towards one another, they will present the information to the children as factually and as neutrally as possible.
- Only share the relevant details and omit any inappropriate details. Your children should know the information relevant to their lives. For example, where will they live? Where will they go to school? How and how often will they get to see the other parent? In contrast, this is not the time to engage in recriminations about each other, or a detailed account of the behavior that led to the break-up of the marriage. Your kids look to both of you as authority figures that they can and should be able to trust.
- Be certain to stress that the children are not to blame for the divorce. Also, be certain to stress that no matter what happens, they are loved, and will always be loved in the future.
- Carefully choose the time you tell the children. Don’t announce anything until you are certain it will happen. Don’t tell the children that you will be getting a divorce if you are still only thinking about it. Similarly, choose the time of the week you make the announcement carefully. Telling the children on a Friday, for example, will let them have ample time to consider your news and ask any questions before the pressure of the work and school week begins on Monday.
- Give the children structure and a schedule and maintain that schedule. Children always need structure and predictability in their lives. Divorce adds turmoil and disrupts both schedule and structure. Even if you disagree with your spouse about parenting methods, during the divorce, you should agree on how the they will maintain their routine. Tell them about that routine, and then stick to your commitments.
- Let your children know it is perfectly normal for them to have a range of feelings. They may feel hurt, angry, sad and confused all at once. You are there to help them work through those emotions.
- Pay close attention to your kids and get them help if necessary. If your child seems to be unusually hostile or depressed, reach out and seek professional counseling.
- Your children are always watching your behavior. You must always set a good example for them, even in a difficult situation.
Consult a Sarasota Divorce Attorney for More Advice.
The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell have helped families through divorces for over twenty years. We understand that divorce is a traumatic event not only for the spouses in a marriage, but for their children as well. We treat everyone involved with respect and consideration, even as we provide our client with the best possible professional representation. If you are contemplating a divorce or are currently involved in one and need the services of one of the best divorce lawyers in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, FL, then please contact us today to schedule a free initial 15 minute phone consultation.