What Should I Tell My Children About Divorce?
Going through a divorce is certainly difficult for both parties involved. But if you have a child, do not forget that it is a process that involves the entire family. Depending on the age of your child, they may expect an explanation. Taking the lead in this conversation can help to ease the transition into post-divorce life for the whole family.
But is there any way to deliver the news softly? Can you reduce the damage it might do? If so, how?
Time and Cooperation
A recent piece in Psychology Today discusses how to break the news of divorce to your child. First, the author who holds a Ph.D. in Psychology notes that you should start the conversation sooner rather than later. Many parents think they do their children a favor when they put off the conversation. But allowing your child to enjoy “more time as a normal family” just deprives them of the time they need to process the news.
Second, work with your co-parent as much as possible. Avoid individual discussions with your children that are intended to block out the other parent. Hold back negative remarks. Instead, it can be helpful to plan things as if your child watched both parents work together.
Expect the Unexpected
Third, plan ahead. Decide things like who fields questions, who explains what and what questions you will not answer. Then, when the time comes, implement the plan. Just prepare yourself for improvisation. After all, you cannot predict how your child will react to the news. You cannot always foresee what types of questions they will ask. The best you can do is get ready for anything.
Above all, remind your child often that both you and your co-parent love them and support them, and will continue to do so even after the divorce. Knowing this can make the scary process of divorce a little more manageable.