Telling your child or children you’re getting divorced is tough, no matter what your circumstances are. Even so, there are better ways than others to do it, and it pays to know what they are.
You and your spouse should tell the children together. Set aside your disagreements or reasons for getting divorced and present the divorce to your children as a mutual decision. Your children shouldn’t hear two different versions about the divorce decision from each parent. Use the word “we” and avoid confusing your kids.
Don’t blame or criticize the other parent. As parents, reassure your kids by being civil to each other and showing them that you’re both going to work together to take care of them.
Let your kids know they come first. Above all, your kids need to know you love them. Tell them that they are more important to you than anything and you’ll work to meet all their needs as best you can.
Tell them your divorce isn’t their fault. It’s common for kids to feel they caused their parents’ divorce. Your kids need to understand they aren’t the reason. There’s nothing they did, and it’s you and your spouse’s fault that the marriage didn’t last.
Other tips include: being open and answering your kid’s questions, telling all the children together unless you believe one child’s reaction will upset the other children. Also, it’s a good idea for you and your spouse to practice or rehearse what you’re going to say beforehand. This gives you an opportunity to carefully think about what to say. It will be an emotional moment and this practice can also help you stay in control.
At C.E. Borman & Associates, we know how difficult divorce can be and work closely to help you get through the divorce process as smoothly as possible.