How to Tell Kids about Divorce
Getting a divorce is never easy, especially when there are children involved. During childhood and adolescence, children cannot comprehend certain things, like why their parents are getting a divorce. The gap in understanding between children and adults should be taken into consideration when you want to share divorce with kids. So, if you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, these are the most important things you need to keep in mind when telling your children you are getting a divorce.
How to Tell Kids about Divorce
The first and most important thing to remember when telling kids about divorce is that you have to certain that you want to divorce your partner. After the decision is made, this is how to share divorce with kids:
Keep a united front – there are many cases in which a divorce is not necessarily a joint decision. Furthermore, conflict usually causes the decision to divorce, and couples are angry with one another during the process. Whatever the reason for the divorce, you need to keep a united front when speaking to your children. Practice the conversation beforehand, and do your best not to argue and fight during the talk. As part of the talk, use uniting words like "we" to convey the message that while your kids' parents are getting a divorce, you are all still one unit.
Have a joint and separate conversation
Divorce is life changing for children; they will feel angry, confused, and sad. As parents, it is your job to keep the negative feelings to a minimum and make sure your children understand what is going on and to convey that everything will be alright. To do so, have a joint conversation where all the children are present. Afterward, each parent should sit with each child to have a personal conversation and answer any questions each child will have.
Plan what you are going to say
Before sitting down your kids for the divorce conversation, you need to rehearse what you are going to say. Think about the most important you want to say and talk about them up ahead. Naturally, there will be certain things that you cannot plan on saying, but, for the most important key messages, you have to rehearse and get the messages down to a T.
Be prepared for harsh reactions
Most kids never see their parents' divorce coming, and that is why you should expect some harsh reactions during and after the divorce conversation. Your children will likely cry, get angry, and have a ton of questions. Also, you should also be prepared for some selfish questions because children's' nature is egocentric. So, you should expect questions about your children's future that mainly revolve around them. It is natural, understandable, and as a parent, you need to keep calm and open.
Be ready for some hard questions
Children do not have the mature understanding process adults have, so it will take them time to process their emotions and the news about the divorce. Once you are finished telling your kids you are getting a divorce; you should tell them that they can ask you any question they may have. When your kids start asking questions, you should open up a dialog and let the questions flow. As parents, you need to fill your children's emotional needs and be prepared to answer some hard-hitting questions.
Nearly 50% of all marriage end in divorce, and while marriages ending is common, it is never easy. If you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, you need to be as prepared as possible when it comes to talking to your kids. The best way to tell kids about divorce is to think about what you are going to say and be prepared for questions. Be as well prepared as possible and remember that the divorce process only begins with a conversation and that it will be an ongoing process.