While deciding to get divorced is a difficult decision, telling your children about the decision can be even more difficult still. You might dread having this conversation and might put it off, but the reality is that you must break the news to kids at some point. If you don’t, your child might hear it from someone else or might figure it out on their own, which can lead to distress and uncertainty.
It is better for your child to hear the news from you, and the following are some brief tips to keep in mind.
Plan the Conversation with Your Spouse
Even though you and your spouse might disagree on certain things at this time, you want to agree on what to say to your kids. If you cannot have an effective conversation about it with one another, consider speaking with a counselor or divorce coach.
Approach Your Kids Together
Again, this is not the time for contention, and both parents should speak with the kids together whenever possible. This prevents one parent from making the other seem like the “bad guy” or telling falsehoods about what led to the divorce. It can also instill confidence that divorce does not mean that a child will lose the love of one parent.
Give Them a Reason
If children do not hear a reason for divorce from their parents, they might be more likely to blame themselves. It is only fair that they know why their lives are being upended, though – again – do not assign blame to one parent or another. Use neutral statements like “we don’t want to argue anymore” or “we will stay friends, but we are not in love with each other.”
Remind Them that Not Everything Will Change
Of course, divorce will change your child’s life, but remind them that some things will stay the same. Tell them that they will still have their activities, friends, and time with each parent. Reassure them that parents only divorce each other – not children.
Explain to Them What Will Happen
Let them know which parent will leave your family home and when they plan to move. Tell your kids they will see that parent right away and visit their new home.
Show Acceptance and Give Them Time
Kids will have different reactions based on their age, maturity, and other factors. Know that there is no right or wrong way to react to this type of news, and show acceptance for however your child is feeling. Give them time to digest the information and adjust to the changes that divorce brings. If they do not improve with time, never hesitate to contact the school counselor or a child psychologist for help.
Consult with a Forsyth County Divorce Attorney
Telling your children is only one piece of the difficult divorce puzzle. Fortunately, the Forsyth County divorce lawyers at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP are here to help with the rest of the process. Please contact us online or call (770) 887-1209 today.