Undoubtedly, one of the most difficult things a parent can do is break the news of divorce to his or her children. While young children often don't have the knowledge and experience to understand a divorce, older children often understand the situation too well and are prone to acting out. No matter the age of your children, it is likely that they will be devastated and will have many questions and concerns. Here are a few tips for breaking the news of divorce to your kids as successfully as possible.
Include your spouse in the conversation
When you break the news of divorce to your children, it is important that you have your spouse there as well. In fact, you should discuss the impending divorce as a family rather than separately with each child. Depending on the age and maturity of your children, they may suspect that such a conversation is coming or the conversation may catch them completely by surprise. If you tell the children with your spouse, this will signal to them that they will still have two parents even if the family arrangement changes. This will help them understand that they will still be able to spend time with both of their parents.
Tell your children they are not to blame
Unfortunately, children tend to feel guilty about divorces because they feel at fault. Therefore, it is important that you drive home the fact that the divorce has nothing to with them or their behavior. In order to keep these feelings at bay, it is important that you reinforce this point from time to time. It is also important that your children feel that both parents love them just as much as before.
Explain the new family dynamic
To give your children peace of mind, you should explain to them the new family dynamic and parenting plan as soon as possible. Of course, not all the details about custody and visitation may be concrete yet. However, you should still try to give your children a good idea of how much time they can expect to spend with each parent. You should also give them an idea of what their living arrangement will be like in the future.
As stated above, your children will likely have many questions to ask you. The best thing to do is put yourself in their shoes and try to answer the questions as best you can. Answering questions will help them understand and put their fears to rest.
Breaking the news of divorce to children is never an easy task. To ensure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible for the entire family, reach to out to an attorney from LaRocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg & Patti, LLC for assistance.