How can you tell your children you’re getting a divorce?
Many married couples in California end up deciding to divorce. When there are children involved, it’s particularly difficult. However, it’s important to talk to them about your plans. Although it might be challenging and emotional, it’s important to include them and have this discussion. Working together with your spouse is the best way to proceed.
Plan ahead about what you’ll say
Plan ahead together when you’ll talk to the kids and what you will say to them. The best time to do it is during the weekend when you can have family time. Avoid the talk on a special day, holiday, before school or before bedtime. If you and your spouse are having a difficult time communicating, bring in a mediator or counselor to help. Be calm and level-headed when you speak to the kids.
Talk to them together
You and your spouse should talk with your children together. It allows them to know that you’re both there for them no matter what. It can also help soften the news about your divorce. If you have more than one child, they should all hear from you at the same time.
Don’t blame one another
Don’t blame your spouse and make sure your spouse doesn’t blame you when discussing your divorce with the kids. This can prevent the kids from feeling like they’re in the middle. Simply use the word “we” when talking to them and explain that the two of you being married just isn’t working out anymore.
Explain why it’s happening
While you don’t have to give the specifics per se, it’s important to tell your children why you are getting a divorce. Older kids will probably want more information, but you should be as succinct as possible. You can tell them that you and your spouse can’t fix the relationship no matter what you try.
Explain what will change and what will stay the same
Your kids will want to know how their lives are going to change with the divorce. Tell them what may change and what will probably stay the same. Let them know that their school, friends, and activities will stay the same and that they’ll still have both of you.
Tell them which parent is leaving the home
Tell your kids whether you or your spouse is leaving the home. It can help to soften the blow. However, stress that they will still see the moving parent and spend quality time with both of you in spite of the situation.
Give them reassurance
Children need plenty of reassurance that the divorce isn’t their fault. Tell them that they didn’t do anything to cause the situation. However, avoid making any promises you might not be able to keep. You can tell them that they’ll be able to get used to new arrangements and things will be better again.
Although it can be hard telling your children about your divorce, it’s necessary. You can also work through everything as a family in spite of the split between you and your spouse.