Breaking the News of Divorce to Children
So you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce. Divorce alone is a challenging experience. When you add children into the mix, the divorce becomes twice as complicated. How can you explain to your children that their parents will not be together anymore? How will they take it?
You should (if possible) tell your children about the divorce with your spouse present. That isn’t always an option, but it is the best way to do it if you can. When a child hears the news from both parents, it will help them to understand the situation a bit more, and may prevent future grudges against one parent.
Sit the children down for a discussion. Let them know that you have something very important to discuss with them. Don’t break the news to them on a family vacation or a family fun night. This will leave sour memories in their minds. You need to let the children know that this will not be a fun discussion. Help them to understand that it is a serious situation.
It is important to help the children understand that the divorce is in no way, shape, or form their fault. Children will automatically assume that the divorce is because of something that they did or that they could have somehow prevented it. It is your job as the parent to crush those thoughts. Let your children know that nothing that they have done is the cause of the divorce.
Explain to the children exactly what will happen. They need to know that even though mom and dad no longer feel the same way about one another, that in no way affects the way they feel about them. Children need to know that they are still loved and wanted. Explain things from the court situation to custody situations. If one parent will be moving out, tell the children so that they can be prepared.
The most important thing to remember when telling your children about a divorce is to be open to questions. You need to let your children know that you are available to answer any and all questions that they may have. The chances are good that they probably have dozens of questions. They may even feel embarrassed to ask some of them. If you feel they have a question and are trying to avoid asking it, encourage the questions. Ask your child if they have any questions about a certain aspect of the divorce.
Never, ever make the children choose sides. Your situation with your spouse should never come between your children and their relationship with their parent. Never put them in the middle or make them pass messages. Never ask them to spy for you. If you keep love and sensitivity in mind, you will be able to successfully tell your children about the divorce.