No matter what the reason behind your divorce or whether it is an amicable separation or a contentious breakup, discussing the divorce with your children will potentially be the most difficult conversation you’ll ever have. The way you and your spouse address the situation and the children’s reaction will have a lot to do with their age, but carefully planning out what you will say and how you respond to their questions is also important. Whether your children are expecting the news or it is coming as a complete shock, your preparation and reaction are key to keeping a positive environment.
Prepare for the Conversation and the Questions Afterward
Divorce will be an emotional time for everyone involved. Making sure that both parents are on the same page and present for the conversation is key. The following tips are helpful for you to come up with a plan for how to discuss your divorce with your children before it happens.
Plan your conversation ahead of time – Make sure you have a plan of how you will be sharing the news with your kids and stick to it. It is best to use direct, honest, and simple language to avoid any confusion. You can best judge what language to use based on the age of your children.
Stress the positives – While there is likely to be fear, sadness, or anger, after you share the news you can attempt to alleviate some of the stress by sharing some important points. Let them know that it is not their fault. Emphasize that both parents still love them very much and that you will always be their parents. Although living situations may be changing, you can let them know that you will always still be a family.
Share the news together – This means having both parents as well as all kids together at the same time. While one-on-one conversations will inevitably come later, the initial conversation should be done all at once.
Expect a mixed reaction – Much of the reaction will be based on the personalities of the children, the circumstances in the house before the news was shared, and the ages of the children. Younger children may not grasp the long-term implications but may have a keen interest on the day to day impact on their lives. The older the children are, the more nuanced their understanding and potentially complex their reactions will be.
Keep the conversation open – It is natural for children to have many questions about divorce, even if they are not ready to ask them all at once. It is important to let them know that they can continue to ask you questions whenever they feel comfortable. Different thoughts may cross their mind at different times or after specific events throughout and after the divorce. Keep a door open to their questions.
Trust a Collin County Divorce Attorney
At Law Office of Brian Bagley, we know the emotional toll that a divorce can take on you and your children. Our Plano, TX divorce lawyer will take a personal approach to your case. We will provide you with compassionate, experienced advice that can help you through difficult decisions such as property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody issues. To schedule your free consultation, call (972) 843-7158 today.