By the time that you tell your children about your upcoming divorce, you have known that it’s coming for a while. You’ve probably talked with your spouse about it extensively. You may have gone to counseling. It’s no surprise to you, to say the least.
However, remember that their parents’ divorce will still come as a surprise to most children. You need to be very careful with how you break the news.
Six ways you can make things go smoothly when you tell the kids
Your goal is to make this conversation go smoothly and leave your children feeling loved and secure, despite the changes that are upcoming in their life. Here are six things you can do to make that happen:
- Pick a time when you actually have the time to talk, then sit down and have a calm conversation for as long as needed.
- Allow your children the time they need to ask all of the questions that they want. Realize it may take more than one conversation.
- To make sure you don’t miss anything, write out what you want to say in advance. Even a few notes can help you avoid forgetting something important.
- Even if you blame yourself or your spouse for the split, do not express that blame to the children. Neither parent should be portrayed as “the bad guy.”
- Explain to your children that they are still loved, that nothing can change that and that your goal is to give them the life they deserve no matter what.
- If you have more than one child, have this conversation as a family meeting with all of them together. That way, none of them feel like they were kept in the dark longer than anyone else.
Most importantly, you need to remember that this is a time for conversation, not speeches. Give your children the ability to talk about what’s happening and their feelings — even if it is unpleasant.
Getting the divorce process started
Once you officially decide to get divorced, it’s time to look into the steps you will need to take to get this process started and work toward your goals. An experienced advocate can help.