Even if it is the best option for you and your spouse, getting a divorce is never an easy decision. Divorce after having kids is a game-changer, even if you or your partner want to keep in touch after you’ve finalized the paperwork. Even if you plan to civilize the division, it’s going to take a toll on the kids when they can’t go to both mommy and daddy’s house after school. It’s important that you sit down and explain to them what’s really going on, before they blame themselves or take action. There needs to be a certain level of honesty when you’re talking about divorce with your kids. If you are lying to them they will realize it, so it is best to be honest and let them get involved in everything that might affect them. Here are 5 tips for letting your kids know about the divorce.
Make sure you break the news together
It’s not just because whoever breaks the news is going to seem like the bad guy, but because your kids need to see that the two of you are still a couple as their parents, even if You’re not going to be together anymore. Blaming each other or telling biased or one-sided stories doesn’t help anyone in this situation. It is important to include the word “we” during your conversation so that neither parent presents it to children as if one parent is leaving the family.
know what you want to say
Before sitting in front of your children, talk about what you are going to say to your children. Improving conversations that may last longer with your child is beneficial to them. Make sure you tell your kids that you both love them and that the split is a decision they made as adults and it has nothing to do with them. Children often blame themselves, so while you may not need to give the correct reasoning behind the divorce, make sure they understand that it was the result of your own problems, not theirs.
warn their teachers
Depending on how you expect your children to react to the news, you may want to tell other adults who are near them. Teachers, coaches, babysitters, or other figures of authority are the ones to turn to for help during this time. This can confuse children, especially at a young age. They too can initiate action. If this happens, it is important that the adults around them understand what they are going through and help them instead of punishing them.
let them ask questions
Again, they’re going to be confused, so you and your ex need to arm yourself with the answers to your questions. The first thing they are going to ask is “why”. You might want to tell them that you no longer see face-to-face and, although the two of you will always be their mom and dad, you no longer want to be husband and wife. Be prepared to answer questions like, where are we going to live, am I going to give birth to a new mom/dad, can I see the two of you everyday? e.t.c.
Going through a divorce is not only a difficult time for the kids, but it can also be an emotional roller coaster for you and your partner. Talking about it to others can upset you, so you can expect that telling your kids about it can upset you too. It is very important that you wait until the decision is final and that you are mentally/emotionally stable enough to inform your children. When breaking news, you need to be strong for them. If they see that their parents are broken by the upcoming events, they may not know how to handle it. Seeing your parents upset is one of the worst feelings, and for a young child that can be extremely overwhelming.
Going through a divorce affects many more people than just you and your partner. Unfortunately for your children, they will bear the brunt of emotional distress, so do everything in your power to reduce it.