Divorce doesn’t just affect couples; it affects friendship, families, and other areas of your life. If you are getting divorced and have children, you shouldn’t make the mistake of not considering how they will be affected by the dissolution of your marriage.
In considering your children during divorce, it is important to consider how and what you will tell them about your divorce. Below, we discuss five key tips concerning how to tell your children about your divorce.
1. Present a United Front
If possible, you and your soon-to-be ex-partner should tell your children about the divorce together. Having the discussion together can reinforce the idea that you both are still there for them and that you will always be a family.
When you break the news, you should avoid arguing or placing blame as well. Both of these actions can affect your child in negative ways. Specifically, arguing can make your child feel alienated or like they have to choose a side, and placing blame can affect their relationship with either or both parents.
2. Be Honest
While you do not want to place blame, you can still be honest and explain why you are splitting. However, with this step, consider your child’s age and what they can understand. With older children, you may be able to go into more detail than with younger children.
3. Plan or Discuss What You Will Say
You should avoid oversharing or giving too many details to your child. Planning what you will each say as well as discussing what details you both believe are appropriate to share before the talk can help ensure you are on the same page. Both parties can avoid being blindsided as well if you discuss what you plan to say.
4. Be Prepared for Them to Have Questions
When you plan what to say, you should try to include as many details concerning what changes they should expect because of the divorce (i.e. two houses, new routine, etc.). Even if you are extremely honest and detailed in your explanation, you should also plan for and invite your child to ask you questions.
After sharing the news of your divorce, they may worry how it will affect their relationship with each parent, whether their behavior caused the divorce, when you decided to split up, and whether their lives will be impacted beyond the changes at home (i.e. changes to schools, living arrangements, etc.).
Even if your child does not immediately open up or have questions, check in with them occasionally to see if they have questions or need help processing their thoughts or emotions. Depending on your child’s age, they may act out in different ways because of the divorce; you should ask their teachers, other family members, friends’ parents, and others to also be mindful of mood or behavioral changes.
5. Remind Them You Love Them
Your child can never hear that you love them too often. When you tell them about your divorce, reminding them how much you both love them can help ease fears that they caused the divorce or that the end of your relationship also means their relationship with each parent will change.
Cairns Law Offices is equipped to help couples protect their interests and obtain an affordable divorce. If you or a loved one are planning to file for divorce, consider using our Divorce Wizard to file an uncontested, no-fault divorce.
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