When you talk to your children about the divorce, you’ll need to tell them the pertinent age-appropriate facts, offer love and support, avoid blaming your spouse, and answer any questions they may have.
When couples decide to divorce, telling their children becomes one of the most dreaded conversations they’ll ever have. Preparing yourself mentally, and knowing that this difficult time will pass, can help make the conversation a little easier for you.
Before You Have the Talk
You might consider speaking with a divorce therapist prior to your talk with your children. The therapist will provide you with healthy coping mechanisms for the stress of divorce, as well as useful tips for breaking the news to your children and helping them cope.
You’ll want to choose a calm time and place, devoid of distractions or interruptions from others. Whether or not your imminent ex-spouse will be there when you break the news to the children, you’ll want to rehearse what you’re going to say before the talk. Have a basic plan for this, and allow yourself to be open and receptive to your children’s reactions.
What to Focus on During the Conversation
When you talk about the divorce, be empathetic and discuss the big topics right away. Kids’ first questions are generally, “Where will I live?” or “Will I get to go to my same school?” and “When will I be able to see dad (or mom)?”
Helpguide.org offers a few tips for telling your children about the divorce.
- Be truthful. Your kids will want to know why you’re getting divorced, and it’s okay to provide them with simple factual answers (without blaming anyone).
- Tell your children that your and your spouse’s feelings for each other (or lack thereof) in no way affects either parents’ feelings for them. Kids need to be reminded that they are unconditionally loved.
- Talk about the changes your family will experience. Address the things that will be different and the things that will remain the same.
- Reassure them that you will work together as a team to deal with all the issues as they arise.
“Difficult as it may be to do, try to strike an empathetic tone and address the most important points right up front. Give your children the benefit of an honest – but kid-friendly – explanation,” advises HelpGuide.org.
Divorces can be wrought with blame, resentment, and bitterness. These are not emotions to bring to the table when you tell your children about the divorce. Even if you feel justified, e.g., infidelity or deception, leave that out of the conversation. Your children don’t need compounded pain and stress.
Remember that how you bring up this conversation and how you conduct yourself will likely be etched in their memories for a long time. Acting calm, empathetic, and supportive will help the memory be far less traumatic.
Consult a Divorce Attorney to Help You through the Legal Process
For a caring, determined divorce attorney in Dallas, call our team at the Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation at 214-265-7630.