Going through a divorce when you have children can be a particularly challenging experience. Not only may you be dealing with your own emotional stress, but also that of your young ones who may not be ready for their parents to part ways.
Despite the difficulty, your children deserve to know what's going on, and, fortunately, there are helpful tips you can keep in mind to ensure that you deliver the news as gently as possible. Consider the following suggestions when planning your conversation with your kids:
- Find the right time: Although there might not be a perfect time to tell your kids you're getting a divorce, certain moments can be much better than others. Find a time where your entire family can be gathered together in the same room. Ensure that all electronic devices or any possible distractions are put away, and that no one will have to rush off to any appointments right after the conversation. You may also want to avoid having the conversation during celebratory events such as birthdays or holidays in case your kids end up associating these occasions with the divorce for years to come.
- Show a united stance: It is important for both you and your spouse to co-lead the conversation together. It can be helpful to let your kids know that your divorce was a mutual decision between you and your spouse. This may present the idea that you are both still on the same team despite the divorce, as well as reduce any idea that one spouse is unfairly leaving the other.
- Prepare what to say: It is important to plan what you will say exactly, as well as to consider what you may want to leave out. Consider putting aside any negative feelings you may have towards your spouse during the conversation. Hearing about the divorce may be hard enough for your children, and they may not benefit from seeing you and your spouse arguing about it.
- Allow your children to process it: Depending on how old your children are and what stage in life they are at, they may have different ways of reacting to your conversation. They may react emotionally, and may not immediately affirm your decision. It is alright to give them time to come to terms with the divorce. Welcome any questions they may have at the end of the conversation.
Ensuring that your children can continue relying on you
As daunting as it may seem to break such difficult news to your children, it is important that you have the conversation sooner than later to avoid unnecessary hurt or confusion down the road. No divorce is easy, especially when children are involved. However, cushioning your conversation with love and patience can help ensure that your children feel supported throughout the divorce process.