Posted on: 8 March 2017
Dealing with a divorce can also mean dealing with a lot of important issues, sometimes all at once. It's very easy to procrastinate telling your child about the upcoming divorce, and you should make sure that you are well-prepared when you do decide to move forward. When you consider that your child could be impacted by your divorce for the rest of their lives, you will understand that exactly what you say and how you say it can make a big difference. Read on for some quick tips to ensure that you make the best of this trying situation.
Don't try to go it alone. No matter how awkward it may feel, both you and your spouse need to be present when you break the news to your child. There is never a more important time for your child to feel loved by both parents and to feel that both of you will continue to be there and love them, no matter what. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to set aside time for this talk before an ex move out, since younger children have more trouble remembering and will be surprised by a sudden absence.
Be on the same page. Things that may seem obvious to you and your spouse are not always obvious to a child. Remind your child, as often as necessary, that your problems and issues with each other have nothing to do with them and they are not to blame for this breakup. Children often blame themselves for a divorce thinking that if only they had not been "bad" it would not be happening. Plan ahead about what specifics to cover in the talk, such as who will be moving out and when. Assure the child that their daily routines, school, friends, neighborhood, and more won't change (if possible).
Know what not to do. Be cautious with your wording; make sure that you never tell a child that you no longer love one another. Children can misunderstand and begin to feel that your feelings about them could change, and that you may not love them anymore either. Use language that is age appropriate, keeping it as simple as possible. Whatever you do, don't:
- Argue with each other in front of the child.
- Discuss your differences with each other.
- Blame each other.
- Get emotional and cry or yell.
Dealing with the outcome. Be ready to answer your child's questions as honestly as possible, but keep it simple. Since the real reasons for the split may be too adult for a child to understand, you may need to simply say that you want to live apart from each other.
Be sure to get enough help and support from a divorce attorney, like Eschbacher Law, and family counseling services to get through this time period and move forward to a new beginning.Share