As a parent, you feel obligated to shield your children from any adult problems that they are powerless to influence or control.
However, if your relationship with your spouse has deteriorated to the point of an impending divorce, chances are your children already sense that something is up. So, when is the right time to talk to them about the upcoming changes in your family dynamic?
Talk to the children in a way that will not further traumatize them
Depending on the ages of your youngest family members, they may have varying emotions when learning the divorce news. To keep a strong handle on the situation, you should plan your discussion when you meet the following standards:
- Both parents have decided to move forward with separation and divorce
- Both parents can speak about the situation without getting too emotional in front of your children
- You are ready for an array of reactions from your children in response to the news
- Both parents agree it is time to tell them
Things not to do
Do not do the following:
- Blame the other parent
- Blame the child
- Ask the child where they want to live/who they want to live with
- Involve the child in decisions (with some exceptions)
- Involve the child in conflict with the other parent
Make it a family meeting
Children deserve to know the truth about changes that affect their futures and if possible, they should hear it from both parents. If you can face your kids as a team, you can effectively assure them that you love them and care about their feelings. They will feel safer and more secure about the transition if they can trust you both to make the right decisions for the family.
Going through a divorce is hard, and you may not do everything right. The most important thing is making sure your children have the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive.