children walking in forest
CC photo courtesy of vastateparksstaff via Flickr

by Margie Mittleman

Divorce is one of the most difficult emotional challenges people face – including the children involved. The good news is that families that deal properly with a divorce have a better chance to come through the experience without harmful lasting effects. That’s why it’s important to know how to tell your children you’re getting divorced in a way that is caring and age-appropriate and presents a unified front between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. How you talk to and support your child can make a difference in your child’s ability to cope with the divorce. Experts offer the following tips for talking to your children about your breakup:

1 – Plan your discussion ahead of time. An article in Psychology Today recommends that you plan ahead where, when and what you will tell your children. Your children will remember the conversation for years to come.

2 – Present a united front. Avoid the appearance of blaming one spouse, advises helpguide.org. If you can, discuss with your spouse what you plan to say beforehand. Putting some thought into what you will say and how you will say it will make the discussion go more smoothly.

3 – Tell the whole family at the same time. The Psychology Today article recommends telling the entire family at once. That way, some children will not be asked to keep secrets from other children.

4. Make sure your discussion is age-appropriate. Older children may need more information than younger children. Kids will also need information about changes in their lifestyles like where they will live.

5. Tell the truth. Regardless of how much information you decide your children need, it should be truthful. You children may ask you tough questions, and they deserve honest answers even if you do not give them detailed information.

6. Allow your children to ask questions. Make sure your children know they can ask you questions and tell you their feelings.

The Psychology Today article noted that children need parents to address their pain and uncertainty. They need to have their questions answered and to feel support for their reactions – even when those reactions are painful to parents. Although many children and adults can come through divorce without lasting damage, the time during divorce can be emotionally challenging. At Divorce Docs, we understand the emotional challenges that families face during divorce. We know that your children are your priority, and we will work with you to create a parenting plan and a child support agreement that are in the best interest of you and your children. Contact us today, or peruse our website for more information.