One of the hardest things you must do when you decide to divorce is to tell your children. However, if you know that divorce is the best decision for your family, you can follow a few tips to help navigate this difficult task:
1. Take Time and Plan the Conversation
You have taken the time to decide that divorce is the right decision. You likely have known for a while that the relationship was in trouble. You may have the urge to immediately tell your children once the decision has finally been made. However, you do not want to dump this news on your kids and shock them. Instead, you and your spouse should sit down together as a family for the conversation.
Creating a plan for the conversation with your children allows you to consider the best timing, location, and how to deliver the news to them. You want your children to be in the best possible mental and emotional state for receiving the news. Additionally, rehearsing what you plan to say will help you remain calm and present it in the best way possible.
2. Tell Your Children Together
Telling your children that you are filing for divorce should be done with both spouses present. Creating a united front for your children is critical, regardless of who may be at fault. Your plan should be to inform the children but to agree that you will not discuss the reasons for the split or argue in front of them. Neither spouse should be blamed, and it should be clear that you tried to work things out and determined it was best for everyone to live separately.
3. Explain What They Can Expect
Your children will want to know what happens next. Hopefully, you and your spouse have agreed on where the children will live and how they will spend time with each of you. If this is not the case, be honest and tell them you are still working it out. Your children need security in the knowledge that they will be taken care of, they will get to spend time with each of you, and that you both still love them. Anything you can do to minimize your children’s feelings of uncertainty is important.
4. Tell All Your Children Together
Many parents are tempted to tell their older children about the divorce plan before telling the younger kids. This is a bad idea. You should have every member of the family present for the conversation at the same time. This allows your children to hear the exact same thing and to be each other’s support system. Additionally, it is not fair to put the burden on one child to keep the secret until you tell the other children.
5. Make the Important Decisions
Depending on the age of your children, they may want to have a say in the divorce process. While you should listen to what they want – such as where they want to live – but you are still the parents and should make the important decisions. Allowing your children to have a say can help them cope, but you should never put them in the middle or ask them to decide between their parents.
6. Prepare for Varied Reactions
Each child may react differently to the news that their parents are divorcing. You should prepare yourself to handle whatever reactions your children have, but you should expect crying, anger, avoidance, denial, refusal to listen, acting out, or no emotion at all. Allow your child the space and time to process the news but be there for them. Your time, attention, and love are what they need most during this difficult process.
Stewart Law Group: Experienced Divorce Attorneys Near You
It’s not always easy to prepare for a divorce. It can be difficult to adjust to a new reality. It can also be stressful to have to make significant decisions about children, finances, and custody. If you want to significantly reduce your load, hiring a strong divorce attorney is a key step. An attorney with Stewart Law Group will listen to your side of the story and discuss your goals. On accepting the case, your attorney will invest the time necessary to really learn about you and your concerns, about the children and their needs, and about your financial situation. Contact us through our convenient client form.