Telling your child you are getting a divorce is a very difficult thing to do regardless of their age. There is no way to predict how they are going to react, but it is important for parents to let them feel welcomed and comfortable to express their feelings.
If you are planning on, or already getting a divorce, follow these tips when telling your children to make the process less stressful.
1. Plan the talk ahead of time. Don’t rush to tell your child you are getting a divorce. You don’t want to say something in the heat of the moment that you may later regret. Instead, write a script with your spouse ahead of time to break the news. Plan accordingly and make sure there is no large event in the near future, like a birthday, family party, or holiday.
2. Tell all the children at the same time. It is hard enough telling one child you are getting a divorce. Don’t let the responsibility of telling all of the children fall on one child. Tell them all at the same time so they can feel united, and hear the same script.
3. Tell the truth. No parent wants to hurt their children or cause them sadness. With divorce, beating around the bush and lying will ultimately hurt your children more in the long run. Telling the truth allows them to fully understand the situation, and not have false hopes about the future.
4. Avoid the blame game. When telling your child about divorce, it is important to plan the talk ahead of time to avoid the blame game. Even though it may be difficult, refrain from bashing your spouse in front of your children. Both spouses should have a united front, and calmly and clearly state their agreed upon reasons for divorce.
5. Let them know some things will change. When daily life will be different not living with both parents like they used to, children can benefit by following certain routines. Provide your child with structure and stability so they can get used to daily life with divorced parents.
6. Clear up any misunderstandings. Like being truthful, children will benefit with misunderstandings cleared up. Let them know that it is not their fault you are getting a divorce. They will be confused as to what happened, and why you are getting a divorce. Be as clear and concise as possible.
7. Give them reassurance. Children will be confused about what will happen once the divorce is official. Assure them that everything will be okay, and it will take time for daily life to seem normal again but both parents will be there to love and support the children.
8. Don’t let them play messenger. It is important for divorced parents to refrain from fighting for the kids. They must learn to effectively communicate with one another and never let a child play messenger to deliver messages between the former spouses. When it comes to your children, both parents must have an agreement to not fight and form decisions together, even though it may be difficult in the beginning.
9. Help them express themselves. Children may not know what to say or think, so help them think of words to express the emotions they are feeling. Let them know that their feelings are important to you and you are always there to listen to them throughout all stages of the divorce, and their lives. Let them be honest if they are angry or sad, and create a comfortable environment for them to let you know how they are feeling.
10. Say “I love you.” It is important for a child to feel loved, especially after his or her parents get divorced. They may be very confused, and question your feelings towards them and wonder if the divorce was their fault. Let them know you love them by telling them, and by showing them.
Spend time with your children and let them know you will always be there for them physically, and emotionally.
If you are contemplating or undergoing a divorce in the South Florida area, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced divorce attorney. Attorney Marck Joseph is exceptionally knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the legal system and will work diligently to ensure that the terms of your divorce meet your needs. Contact The Joseph Firm PA by calling (305) 501-0992 for a free consultation.