Explain Divorce to Your Children Using These Tips
Getting a divorce is one of the most stressful life events according to Dartmouth, scoring only below death of a spouse. Now imagine how alarming it is to your child. They have no control over the situation and the world they know is changing forever in a drastic way. When it comes time for you and your partner to separate, you need to tell your children in a way that will help them understand. Here are some tips on explaining the divorce to your child so they feel reassured and are less anxious about the change.
Know What You’re Going to Say When Explaining the Divorce
Don’t have this conversation on a whim. This life event will affect your child in the biggest possible way. Take the time to think through what you are going to say to your child and how you will respond to some questions they may have. You’ll want to be honest without overwhelming them.
Be Honest and Patient
Tell your children the truth with simple, straightforward points. Keep in mind, however, that children do not have the same capacity to understand adult relationship nuances as you or your spouse. They do not need to know all the details that led up to your separation. Simplify your explanation to the need-to-know facts.
In addition, be patient with their questions and reaction. Children are curious by nature and they will be concerned with this change. When they ask questions or act out, be patient and explain how this is the best option for the family. Be sure to reinforce the facts as they try to understand what is happening and how it will affect them.
Present a Unified Front When Explaining Divorce to Your Children
Communicate and explain the divorce to your child when both of you are present. Do not blame this on your spouse. While you may be extremely angry at your spouse during this time, it is important to avoid sabotaging your spouse’s relationship with your child. A few comments during the divorce can have lasting impact on your child so prevent this by keeping the conversation neutral during discussions with your child.
Explain together that this is the best decision for the family and that you both agree on this point. A unified front will help you maintain control of the situation without damaging the relationship of your spouse with your child. In addition, you can express to your child that you both care and will both continue to be part of their life.
Listen to Your Child
Every child is different, but chances are they will be upset. They may ask a multitude of questions in an attempt to get a handle on the event. Listen to your child’s concerns and feelings and address them appropriately. Listening will be important in helping them feel better moving forward. Sometimes listening is all you and your spouse can do, but give your children that outlet. It can help them feel they are being heard and understood, even if they can’t change the outcome.
Stress the Love and Support
Even during a divorce, one thing will not change, and that’s the love and support of your child. When you talk to your child about the divorce, be sure to tell them that you and your spouse’s love and support of them will not change. During this confusing time, it can help to express what will not change. Be sure to tell your children how each of you will continue to be involved in their daily life as well. Whether that’s attending a game of theirs or calling them each night to discuss their day, stay connected, and give them a routine to follow.
Keep Them Informed of the Divorce Process
Keep your children updated of the changes to minimize confusion. A lot of anxiousness can stem from not knowing what is happening and having a change in routine. Keeping your children informed of their new schedule, the separation date, and any changes for holidays and events can help ease the transition. However, remember to avoid talking to them about specific disputes between you and your spouse or speaking critically about the other in front of them. Children do not need to be in the middle of the conflict.
Explaining divorce to your children can be a tough job. It’s a hard conversation to have, but with patience and understanding, you can help your child understand why this is the best decision for you and your spouse, and for the entire family. If you need any help with your divorce, call the Boudreaux Law Firm. Our compassionate team can help you prepare for the future well-being of your entire family.