While making the decision to divorce was no doubt exceedingly difficult, coming to terms with your decision is likely to be that much harder for your children. The fact is, however, that you are going to need to share this information with them sooner rather than later. Because your children are naturally your primary concern, taking the time to share your divorce news appropriately and lovingly is the best path forward.
Telling Your Kids about Your Divorce: The Basics
When it comes to sharing the unhappy news that you and your children's other parent are divorcing, there are some basic tips that can help it go more smoothly and soothe your children's emotional stress. These include:
Choose an Appropriate Time and Place – If your children are old enough, they will remember when and where they learned of your divorce, so choose the time and location carefully. You do not want the conversation to be associated with a special occasion, such as a holiday or birthday, and you do not want your children to have to rush off to school or another activity immediately afterward. Instead, choose a comfortable, familiar location at a neutral time when your children will be able to process the information at their own pace.
Adopt a United Front – Even in acrimonious divorces, couples are often able to put aside their differences for the sake of their children. If at all possible, you and your spouse should tell your children about your divorce together.
Keep Your Message Simple – When you share the sad news that you are divorcing, it is important to keep the message as simple as possible. Your basic message to your children should be that your divorce is based solely on you and your spouse’s inability to overcome grownup difficulties that have come your way. Let them know that your divorce in no way alters your mutual love and affection for them and that they are not to blame in any way whatsoever.
Speak to Your Children All at Once – while it may seem easier to talk to one child at a time, this can be alienating. Your children act as each other’s support system, and you do not want anyone of them feeling as if they have to carry the burden of your divorce alone.
Allow Your Children to Have Their Own Reactions – Do not assume that your children will all react the same way to your divorce. Allow your kids the space they need to process the information in their own unique ways.