When the divorce decision comes, most partners have all their questions answered. But how do you tell your children about this change? How do you do it without sounding insensitive, lost, or uninterested? Read below to learn how to break down the news of divorce to your children.
Don’t Rush the Timing
It may seem like the right thing to tell your children immediately when you decide on filing for divorce. This is not always the case, especially if getting divorced is going to be a long process. Divorce is not a decision made lightly, and telling your children will not make it any easier. That is why having a little time before that conversation is so important. Make sure you are aware of the effects on children of divorce and are calm enough to listen to and answer questions.
Prepare a Plan
You need to plan out not only when you’re telling your kids about your divorce but also what you’re going to say. It is never a good idea to tell life-altering news during happy moments like birthdays and holidays. Telling kids you’re getting a divorce right before bed, while they are already upset, or when dealing with school issues is also not ideal.
So, when is the best time? What phrasing needs to be used? These questions are why planning is so important. What will you say? How are you going to explain that you’re getting divorced?
You need to stay calm. The best way to do that is to have a speech planned or even rehearsed. Within your plan, make sure you leave room for questions, comments, and emotions. Never let a child leave the conversation confused or unheard.
Do It Together
Although you have decided to separate, there was a point in time where you and your partner were together for the long haul. No matter whose fault the divorce is, telling your children about filing for divorce is not a burden to carry alone.
It is also important to tell all your children at the same time. Telling the older ones first and then the younger ones later will only create confusion. Kids aren’t great at keeping secrets, and asking them not to discuss your divorce with their siblings is not fair to them.
Explain the Outcome
This is the part that most parents have the hardest time with: what questions will my child ask? They might be simple questions like “where will I live?” or complex ones like “will mom/ dad still love me when they are gone?”. It is important to never dismiss a question as silly. Prepare answers to questions you think you’ll get. Children need security, so explaining the logistics of what divorce means for the family is vital.
Don’t Let Kids Make the Important Choices
Never let a child make decisions that adults should. Choosing which parent to live with is incredibly difficult. Co-parenting has the best results when it comes to the effects on children of divorce. This is not always possible, but make sure it is at least considered.
Although as a child grows up, they may want a say in who they live with, you as the parent need to have the final say. Never put your children in the middle with promises of gifts, better care, or more time together. These promises, especially if not fulfilled, make it even harder than divorce already is on your child.
Filing for Divorce and Have Kids?
At the Law Offices of Paul Bowen, we know that divorce can be just as hard on you as it is on your children. Let us assist you in filing for divorce so you can focus on your family and yourself. Give our law offices a call today at (727) 773-1554 to set up an appointment.