Divorce: Breaking the News to Your Children
When choosing to file for divorce, many parents and families are most concerned about how a child will react to it. If you aren’t sure how to talk about the topic of divorce with your child, it’s completely understandable. It’s going to be a difficult thing to explain. Here are some quick tips for parents who don’t know how to tell their child the news.
- Emphasize that both you and your spouse love them. Most often, children will assume that a divorce is their fault, or that the breakup is a result of the fact that the parents don’t love them. You have to emphasize the fact that it isn’t true, and that both you and your spouse love them very much.
- Explain that things don’t always work out, even if mommy and daddy love each other. Part of it is just explaining to kids that these things happen, and it’s really no one’s fault — especially theirs.
- Keep the conversation as upbeat as possible. If you already know how custody is going to work out, then emphasize the perks of the plan that the two of you have made. This may include being able to keep your child in the same school, having equal time with both mommy and daddy, and also explaining that not everything is going to change.
- It may also help to soften the blow with a treat. Your child is obviously going to be upset about everything. This is natural. But, you can at least try to soften the emotional blow with an ice cream, a night at their favorite restaurant, or a new toy. It doesn’t always help, but at least it will show that you do take your child’s feelings into regard.
- If your child acts out immediately after hearing the news, be understanding. This will likely be a shock to them.
- Let your child ask questions, and answer them to the best of your ability. This will help calm them down and let them know what to expect.
No matter what the situation may be, a divorce is never going to be easy for a child. Children naturally have less mature coping skills. If the two parents are having trouble coping, how can they expect the children to handle it better? It’s also important to have a lawyer who can compassionately help negotiate and mediate disagreements on behalf of your best interests.