Making the decision to divorce can be heartbreaking but telling your children about it can be even more stressful than the decision itself. Depending on your children's ages they can react differently and have different concerns. A toddler may be more worried about where the pet will live while a teenager will be concerned about how this will affect their life. Whatever your child's age is, make sure you provide them with repeated reassurances that the divorce is not their fault and that you love them. Here are some helpful tips on how to have a healthy conversation about your divorce with your children.
Keep the Message Clear and Simple
When talking to your children about your decision to divorce, make sure your message is clear and simple. Don't give details about your marital issues and what ultimately led you to make the decision to file for a divorce. Don't mention financial issues, job loss, infidelities, and other problems that may have taken a toll on the marriage. Children tend to blame themselves for their parents' separation so going into detail about your problems could lead them to believe that they were also one of the causes for the divorce.
Focus on the Positive and Discuss any Concerns
A divorce can also be a positive decision for a family, if the parents are constantly fighting this creates an unstable home environment where children may not thrive. Try to focus on how a divorce will positively impact your family. You can mention things such as:
- -Both you and your spouse will be happier living apart.
- -The divorce doesn't mean that you love them any less.
- -They will have two homes where they will be loved unconditionally.
- -They will still spend time with both parents, and they will still be involved in all their activities.
- -They can count on both parents for support.
Children may have mixed feelings about a divorce, especially if they were not expecting it. Make sure that they ask questions and you give them several opportunities to express their fears or concerns about the situation. As with any family issue, communication is key to solving any problems and making sure the outcome is the best for everyone involved.
Decide on the Appropriate Place and Time
If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, don't tell your children until you are both sure about this decision. Make sure that you're together when you tell your children so whatever their reaction is, you're both there to reassure them that you love them, to discuss their concerns, and support them. Make sure you have enough time to discuss this and do it privately, decide with your spouse where and when is the best time to break the news to them, don't just do it spontaneously in the middle of a fight or out of spite.
Work Towards the Best Outcome for Your Family
Any divorce can become a contested situation if you and your spouse can't agree over important issues such as alimony or child custody. Even if your relationship is strained, you should both put your children's needs and wellbeing as a priority. Try to reach an agreement over your problems and think about what's best for your family's future and not how to get back at an ex-spouse. Communication is key in achieving a quick and successful divorce. Denver divorce attorney Stephen Plog estimates that divorces that go to court tan take up to a year or more to resolve. It's in your family's best interest to pursue an amicable divorce and start working on this new lifestyle.