Telling your children, you are about to get a divorce can not only be difficult, but it can be stressful as well. The number one thing you need to realize is that this conversation is not going to be easy. The first thing you should tell your child is that you love them. The first thing you should show your child is that you can still handle things as a family. You should hold a family meeting so that you can demonstrate this fact and show them that you can answer any questions or concerns they may have and still meet their needs as a family. You should make sure that you are one hundred percent getting divorced or separated before you tell your children. Once you are one hundred percent certain, you can use the following guidelines to help you tell your children.
Do it Together
You may be hurt or angry with your partner, but it is honestly best for your children if you talk and make decisions about how to tell your children with your partner. Without talking with your partner before you talk to your children, you could end up having the conversation that should have taken place behind closed doors in front of you kids. This is in no way fair to the children. If you can’t get past the hurt or anger and speak with one another, inviting a neutral party (mutual friend, mediator, counselor, etc.) in to help you with the process of working out the details may be best.
After the conversation takes place, it is important that both parents are present when the children are told about the divorce if this is in any way possible. This will tell your kids that you and your partner can work together and that they will still have the benefit of having two parents who love them enough to come together and make decisions. It’s also best to tell all of the children together so that everyone is told by the parents. If this does not happen, it is likely that one of the siblings will tell another sibling because they heard it first. You can follow-up with older children at a later time and have a more in depth conversation if the ages of your children varied. Start with the basics and go from there.
Don’t Play the Blame Game and Be Wary of What and How You Tell Them
The amount of anxiety your children will feel is largely affected by the manner in which the news is presented. If the meeting turns into a fight, your children will be way more unsettled about the situation. If you avoid placing blame, while telling your children, you can make the process easier for them. Try and use the word “we” whenever possible, so that your children understand the decision is mutual. You should not tell them the specific details about why you are getting divorced, even though they will want to know. Older children will weigh the life change against the reason you give. They will analyze and try and decide whether or not the reason equates divorce. For this reason, you should give general explanation. Even though you are giving a general explanation for why, however, you should give very specific details over the changes that will take place. Who is living where, how routines will change, and anything else that will change from what they are used to. This will help them prepare and deal with the changes better.