New Jersey is a good place to raise a family. However, that does not make it easier to break the news of a divorce to a child. Even if parents live close to each other after the separation, it can take some time for kids to get used to a new routine. There are some ways parents can help their kids feel more at home in a new house. For example, it’s good for a child to keep clothes and toiletries at both parents’ houses (rather than always transporting them back and forth). Parents should also strive to create an emotional safe space for their children.
Breaking the news
If you have yet to tell children about your divorce, you should talk to your spouse about breaking the news together. Ideally, parents should discuss what they are going to say in advance and present a united front to their kids.
No negative talk
You do not need to sugarcoat the news, but that does not mean that they need to know every detail of how you and your soon-to-be ex feel about each other. Venting about your ex is only going to confuse your children and make them upset. Some kids will also figure out that they can use their parents’ animosity to pit them against each other. Obviously, this is not a healthy behavior to encourage. Resist the urge to be the “cool” parent and stick with boundaries that you and your ex had in place when you lived under the same roof.
Even if you and your ex are unable to agree on a set of common ground rules, you should do your best to take the high road. Your children’s feelings and emotions are important. Therefore, you should encourage your kids to express themselves about how they are handling the divorce. Try to keep the bitter custody or property disputes between you, your ex, and your family law attorney. Your lawyer can also help you develop a custody schedule that puts the kids’ best interests first.