There may be nobody more challenging to tell your divorce about than your own kids. You and your spouse may be confident in your decision to part ways, but no child wants to hear that his or her parents are ending their marriage. Yet, your children deserve to know the truth, and there are steps you can take to ensure that they feel supported throughout the process. When deciding to break the news, consider the following suggestions to ease the conversation:
- Show that you and your spouse are on the same page — Present a united front between you and your spouse. It is worth letting your children know that your decision to get a divorce is mutual, and that you may even be happier as a result. While it may be difficult for them to learn that you and your spouse will no longer be sharing a life, knowing that you are both on amicable terms with each other can help alleviate the shock. It can also help preserve the image of a collaborative family, rather than add to a divisive one.
- Choose the right time to break the news — When you are announcing something as heavy as a divorce, it is important to choose the right time to do it. Find a time where your entire family can gather, and where no one will need to rush off to any commitments right after your conversation. This can help ensure that everyone has time to process the announcement in his or her own way, whether it is to retreat to a bedroom, ask more questions, or even express deep emotions.
- Know your audience and what they need to know — It is also important to consider how old your children are and what their mental capacity is. Toddlers or young children may not have had enough experience to understand the concept of a divorce nor to know what to expect. You do not have to share more details about your divorce than your children may need. For example, if your divorce was sparked by infidelity, telling your children this may only stress them out even more. Consider what information is worth sharing, and what might be unnecessary.
- Assure them that your love for them will not change — Perhaps the most important thing is to assure your children that your love for them will remain unchanged after the divorce. Let them know that they are not the reason for the decision, and that they can continue confiding in both you and your spouse throughout the divorce process.
Protect the needs of your children
As difficult as it may seem to break the news, telling your children sooner than later may help avoid any unnecessary confusion and hurt. The divorce process may throw many challenges your way, but through it all, it is worth working together with your spouse to protect the emotional well-being of your children.