How to tell your kids you’re getting divorced
Divorce is always a difficult process, and can be even harder for your children, even if they are older or have left home.
In the case of younger children, they can work through your divorce and live a happy childhood, even if their parents decide to go their separate ways. To ensure your child doesn’t suffer too much from your divorce, you need to be careful about the way you tell them you’re separating.
Be sure you are divorcing
The most important thing is to avoid talking about the divorce before you are certain as a couple that you’re going to take this step. You should talk to your kids about the situation if either parent moves out for a while before beginning divorce proceedings, but you can talk about it as a temporary solution.
It is often a good idea to tell the kids that mum and dad are taking a time out at this stage.
Make sure you have both as a couple decided to go ahead with the divorce.
You should never tell the kids you are getting a divorce without sharing the news with your partner first, even when it isn’t a mutual decision. It will avoid any further ill feeling and ensure your kids don’t get put in any awkward situations.
Select the right time
You should also make sure to pick the right time when telling your kids. If your kids are in school and the school year is just about to end, you might want to wait until the term is over.
Furthermore, if your child has an important exam coming up, you might want to wait after it to ensure your child’s academic performance doesn’t suffer from the changing situation.
That said, make the decision of when to tell them based on their personality; they might prefer to have friends around them, and if they’re not geographically close to friends out of school term times they might have a rough summer.
When you tell your child about the divorce, you need to have enough time at hand to answer all the questions and queries they may have. So clear the calendar and commit plenty of time to talk about the event.
Put up a united front
One of the most crucial aspects of talking about a divorce is to put your child first. Telling your child about the divorce isn’t a time for point scoring and blaming. You and your partner have your reasons for a divorce, but your child doesn’t necessarily need to know the details.
You need to put the child first and be united as parents to ensure your child knows you are there to do anything to help your kids. You should never make your child choose sides and you need to be able to talk about your partner in neutral terms, even if the divorce is painful for you.
It might help to talk with a professional to ensure you have a channel to vent, and that you can be strong in front of your kids.
When you are sharing the news, you need to be as clear as possible. So think carefully about what you are going to tell your child beforehand and make sure you both share the same information. Conflicting information can be very difficult for the child and you want to ensure he/she doesn’t feel confused.
The main message to get across is that both of you still love your child and the divorce wasn’t the child’s fault. Be clear about new living arrangements and allow the child to ask questions. Make sure the explanations are thorough but simple.
Depending on your child’s age you don’t want to overcomplicate things or talk about the divorce in terms your child won’t understand.
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