If you’re considering divorcing your spouse, you’ve probably realized by now that there’s no easy way to break the news to your children. When you tell your children about the divorce, your goal should be to lend comfort to your kids—not confusion. Although having this difficult conversation will sting, it’s best to be upfront about the situation. While you can’t make the pain of a divorce magically go away, you can be a supportive parent and help your children cope.
Here are some tips to help you be the best parent you can be during your divorce.
Breaking the News
No matter how much you want to avoid the topic of divorce, there’s no way around it—you must eventually have a serious conversation with your children. Even if you’ve been spending a lot of time researching, there’s no easy way to have this dialogue. The best you and your spouse can do is brainstorm the way you both intend to tell your children about the divorce. Both you and your spouse must make it a point to let your children know that they are not losing both of their parents.
Factor in the ages of your children when preparing your explanation about the divorce. If you have toddlers, mentally prepare for them to view the divorce with honest and straightforward answers to their questions. Reassure them that you both love them and will always take care of them. Help your child form close relationships with other adults who can be supportive role models.
When it comes to young children, a more natural way to approach this conversation is to share the news as if it were a fairytale. Let your children know that sometimes, not every fairytale ends in happily ever after—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Before the divorce, take note to never say anything negative about your spouse in front of them.
Emotions are bound to get the best of you when you speak to your spouse during a divorce; this is normal during this exhausting time, but you and your spouse must avoid arguing in front of your children.
Children are susceptible to thinking negatively and blaming themselves when situations go awry; frequent arguments will only make your children feel worse. If you and your spouse must speak about a contentious topic, consider dropping off your children at a relative’s house or hiring a babysitter.
How you act around your children after divorce will impact your relationship with them. Don’t be that spiteful parent who frequently badmouths their ex-spouse. Even if you and your spouse ended the marriage on bad terms, at the end of the day, you must co-parent with your former spouse. Children don’t want to hear about how much their other parent frustrates you, so it’s best not to use your own children as a therapist. A child’s developing years shapes their adult years. Whether your former spouse is present or not, you must be mindful of the ways you interact with your children.
Divorce is a lengthy process that you shouldn’t have to go through alone. Consulting with a divorce attorney can help simplify this complex process. Contact The Ault Firm today to work with an experienced divorce attorney.