How To Tell Your Children About Your Divorce
Getting a divorce is complicated enough. Having to share the news with a child is a situation nobody is prepared for. What do you say? How do you say it? When do you say it?
Telling your child that their parents are getting a divorce is one of the hardest conversations you may ever have. Therefore, it requires a lot of planning on your part. Here are some tips to guide you through the process and make things easier.
Find the Right Time
Don’t tell the child on a special occasion, such as their birthday or Christmas. That news would taint the day forever. Find a time where everyone can be together (both parents and all the children) and there will be time for questions. A weekend is a good time.
Do It Quickly
You may be scared to talk to your child, and for good reason. Their world will be turned upside down, regardless of their age. You may think you can wait things out for a while. Maybe you can wait a month or so. Don’t do this or else you’ll be doing your child a great disservice. You don’t want your child to hear about your divorce from someone else—that would be devastating. This is an important conversation, so work with your spouse to inform your child quickly.
Plan What You Will Say
Don’t just blurt out the news during dinner. Work with the other parent to make a plan. Tell the kids what is happening, where they will be living, and anything else they need to know. But make sure both parents are on the same page.
Give a Reason
The kids will want to know why you are divorcing, but avoid specifics. There’s no need to blame and say things like Daddy had an affair or Mommy has a new boyfriend. Instead, make “we” statements, such as “We can no longer work on our differences” or “We are no longer happy.” Keep the age of your children in mind and remember that even older kids, such as teens, likely won’t understand the adult problems you are facing.
Kids crave structure and a divorce announcement may make them feel as though their lives are falling apart. Reassure them that the divorce was not their fault and that both of you still love them very much. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but do tell your children what things will stay the same for now. If they will stay in the family home and go to the same school, be sure to tell them that.
Seek Legal Help
Ending a marriage can be a complicated matter, especially when there are children involved. Knowing what, how, and when to tell a child about divorce can be a challenge.
The good news is that you don’t have to handle this situation on your own. Seek legal help from Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. We can guide you through the various elements of divorce. To schedule a consultation with our office, call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form.