How to tell your children you are getting a divorce
Every family is different, as is every child, so there is no ‘right way’ to talk to your children about your divorce. However, here are a few suggestions and things to keep in mind when approaching the subject:
Keep it Simple and Age Appropriate
Children don’t need to know all the details, especially the first time they are hearing about it. You can tell them age appropriate information. For example: What you will tell a toddler will be different then explaining it to high schooler. The older they are the more questions they will have. Determine before the conversation what you are willing to share and what should be
If possible, make sure both parents are present to have “the talk”, this will help show the child no matter what, both parents will always be there when it comes to them. Talk about it beforehand with your spouse so you both understand how much info you will sharing with the children and how you will be presenting the information.
Encourage Your Children to Share Their Feelings
Your children may have a lot of questions as well as initial reactions. Remember they might be sad and sad is OK — let them express themselves without judgment. Lissten, Listen, Listen…now is the time to show the child you will listen.
Avoid Letting Your Own Emotions Drive the Conversation
This may be one of the hardest things you will have to do especially if you are not the one who doesn’t want the divorce. But remember this talk is about the children and not you, so if you get emotional tag the other parent in to do the talking until you can regain composure.
Understand that you can still cry and that’s ok – it shows the child you are sad too- but knowing when to bow out is key – if anger, jealousy, resentment or other emotions the child doesn’t need to see, excuse yourself and take a moment to regain composure.
Don’t forget the last bit of advice….Breathe