When you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, one of the biggest weights on your shoulders will be telling the children. How do you bring it up? What do you say? These are important question every divorcing parent asks.
The news that a child’s parents are getting a divorce has an immense impact. Kevin D. Arnold, Ph.D explains in Psychology Today: “The memory of finding out sticks with children, potentially bringing back the pain when recalled. Unfortunately, many children do not forget that day.”
Tips for Telling Your Children about the Divorce
Ideally, both you and your spouse should discuss beforehand how and what you will tell the children. You might even want to consult a family therapist for ideas for how you should break the news to your children.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when discussing the divorce with your kids:
- Keep the conversation honest, simple and age-appropriate. Uncomplicated and straightforward is best, e.g., “Mom and Dad can’t get along anymore.”
- Emphasize your love for them. Let the kids know that you love them, that the divorce has nothing to do with them whatsoever, and that they will still be cared for and loved.
- Listen to, acknowledge, and support their feelings and responses.Some children respond in anger, some burst into tears and some are somewhat relieved. Accept their reactions and encourage continued communication.
Avoiding Blame when Discussing the Divorce
Unfortunately, many parents tell the children about the divorce in such a way that attempts to shift blame to other parent. It’s important to avoid finger-pointing or making the divorce decision seem one-sided. “This can be especially difficult when there have been hurtful events, such as infidelity, but with a little diplomacy, you can avoid playing the blame game,” explains HelpGuide.org.
When speaking to your children about the divorce, remember to act like an adult, exercise restraint and put their feelings ahead of your own in the current moment so you can avoid unnecessarily hurting them.
Keeping Your Eyes on the Bigger Picture
While you probably dread breaking the news to the children, try to keep the bigger picture in mind. Divorce is painful, but can – and oftentimes does – mean less family pain, eventual emotional healing and a more positive life.
Divorce is simply a reality some families must deal with, and we can make the choice to view it as a learning process, rather than a catastrophic event. Dr. Arnold explains: “Suffering happens, so divorcing parents have an opportunity to teach their children how to handle pain effectively. In every dire circumstance exists the chance to learn and grow; parents who use divorce as one such chance can help their children learn this fundamental truth.”
Making Sure to You Have a Divorce Attorney
In the beginning stages of your divorce, you’ll want to consult an attorney to go over the process and make sure all the important matters like custody and child support are handled in the best way possible.
For a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Dallas, contact the Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC at your convenience: (214) 290-8001.