How To Break The News About Your Divorce To Your Children
Going through a divorce can be difficult for both spouses, but it can also be very difficult on the children. Here are some tips for making sure that you provide them with the space that they need to work through their feelings and accept the divorce with as little emotional upheaval as possible.
1. Tell Your Children Before They Find Out Themselves
Getting a divorce means that your children's lives are going to be changing. This can be extremely upsetting and seem unfair to your children. In order to make sure that they don't feel like you are pulling a fast one or lying to them, you will want to talk to them before they hear it from any other source or deduce it themselves. Once you and your spouse have made a decision, let your children know.
2. Have Both Spouses Break the News in the Home
The first step is to have both you and your spouse break the news to your children. You both want to be there because it will decrease the chances that your children will place the blame for the divorce on one spouse and not the other.
Make sure that you have a planned time that both you and your spouse will be there. Allow at least an hour in case any of your children want to ask any questions or just need time to be comforted. Plan to tell your children about the divorce in your house, not in a public location if possible. This will allow your children to immediately react to their feelings and not feel like they have to keep them bottled up. If a child wants to run to his or her room and slam the door, let him or her do that. If your child wants to weep, that's okay. Give your children the space or comfort they need and then revisit the issue.
3. Revisit the Issue
Finally, you are going to have to revisit the issue, especially if one or more of your children storm out of the living room and upstairs to hide in their beds. If your child has withdrawn, discuss with your spouse who is going to be more effective at comforting that child. Have the chosen parent go to the child and offer support, a hug, or whatever seems appropriate. If the child pushes you away, tell your child exactly where you are going to be if he or she needs any reassurance later on. Offer to talk whenever your child wants. If your child has not eaten lunch or dinner, make sure that you make a plate for that child and leave it with him or her. This will show that you still care even though you and your spouse are getting divorced.
For more information, talk to a family lawyer like Margit M. Hicks, PA Attorney at Law. He or she will be able to provide professional recommendations if you think that your children need to speak to a neutral third party.