You and your spouse may have spent months talking about a potential divorce. And you may have insulated the children from this development until it was inevitable that the split was going to happen. At that point, you likely decided that you needed to break the news to them.
How should you go about approaching this consequential conversation? This can be very difficult news for children to hear, and they’re likely going to have many questions about it. Below are a few tips that can help the conversation go more smoothly than it otherwise might.
Do it together
If you and your spouse can have this conversation together with the children, this helps to present a united front. The children may better understand that you are both making this decision together and that you both still love them and care for them. This approach can, therefore, set up the basis for successful co-parenting.
Tell all of the children together
Similarly, make sure that all of your children are involved in this discussion. Children at different ages may need different levels of detail or information, but the initial discussion should feature the entire family. This way, you can better ensure that the children will find out from you, not from a sibling.
Reassure them that you love them
Some children struggle with guilt and similar feelings during a divorce. They believe that it is their fault. As a parent, you know that this is not true. But be sure you take the time to reassure the children and tell them that you both love them and that whatever “fault” there is in the situation belongs to the adults alone.
Let them ask questions
The conversation will likely start with you and your spouse explaining the situation. But be sure it is not a one-sided conversation the entire time. Children are going to have many questions, some of which you may not have considered – or that may not even feel important from an adult perspective. But these questions are still very important to the children and you need to give them time to express their thoughts and get the answers they are seeking.
Getting started with a divorce
As you begin this legal process, be sure you are well aware of all the future steps you’ll need to take when dividing assets, splitting up time with the children, etc. so that you can better address your children’s questions as they arise. Seeking legal guidance accordingly can be beneficial in this regard.