Many parents may dread explaining an upcoming divorce to their children. The conversation can be emotional and challenging for all involved. There are, however, some strategies parents can use to make the process go more smoothly, and help their children cope with the changes.
Before you approach your children about the topic of divorce, discuss with your spouse what you are going to say, and make sure you both are in agreement on key points. If the two of you still need to figure out living arrangements and parenting plans, work to resolve those issues first. That way you can both answer any questions children may have.
If possible both spouses should participate in the conversation with the children. This demonstrates that even if you are not going to be married any longer you will still be working together as co-parents.
With younger children you should keep the discussion very simple and concrete. Focus on what changes will be impacting the children themselves instead of your relationship with your spouse. Discuss topics such as where children will be living and when they will see each parent.
Acknowledge that life is going to change for the family. Keeping the age of your children in mind, you may want to explain the reasons for the divorce without going into unnecessary detail. Clearly, explain that the divorce has nothing to do with the children.
Although it’s normal to show sadness, do your best not to get overly emotional when having discussions about divorce with your children. This can be upsetting and even frightening to younger children. If you need to get your own emotional needs met talk with a supportive friend, family member or counselor.
No matter the age of your children, reassure them that both parents are going to continue to be there for them. Parents should demonstrate this by presenting a united front and being ready and able to support their children through the transition.