How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce
Divorce is never an easy path for anyone to take and, if you have children, it will be even harder for them to cope with this drastic life change. To help them process this, it is important that you have a proper discussion with them as soon as you are certain you and your spouse will move forward with this decision. Of course, navigating this conversation can be rather difficult and you might not know where to even begin.
Below is a list of tips on how to approach this discussion as delicately and effectively as possible:
- Tell them together as soon as possible: You and your spouse are likely not on the best of terms at the moment. After all, you are getting divorced and probably still have some grievances against one another. However, this conversation is not about you, your marriage, or who made more mistakes. This is about your children and helping them through this difficult time. Part of helping them includes presenting a unified front and speaking to them together. The two of you will no longer be together as a couple, but you are both still going to be their parents and, as co-parents, you need to put your children’s best interests first. Seeing the two of you break this news to them together will help reinforce the idea that, although your relationship has changed, your roles as parents will continue to remain the same. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, it is crucial that you do not wait to have this talk. Your children will sense that things have changed and will likely pick up on the tension between the two of you. Instead of letting this weigh on them, tell them about the divorce as soon as possible.
- Be honest with them: Being honest does not mean you need to share all the nasty details about your divorce and why the marriage failed to work. Instead of unloading all of your emotional baggage on them, give them information. If you know that one of you is planning to move out, tell them which parent is moving out and where to. The more information you can provide, the better. Knowing what to expect will help lessen their anxiety and make the future seem far less uncertain. If they ask why the marriage ended, however, do not take this as an opportunity to bad mouth each other. Just make sure they understand this decision had nothing to do with anything they did and could not have been fixed by them.
- Prepare yourself for many reactions: No two children are alike and, therefore, you can never predict what their reactions will be upon hearing this distressing news. Some might feel guilty and believe they were the cause while others might feel fear or sadness. Whatever the reaction is, be prepared for it and allow them to express their feelings. Chances are you are also experiencing some anger, so you should not be surprised when your children exhibit these emotions as well. It is completely normal!
- Listen to them: Your children are likely going to have some things to say and questions to ask, so make sure you listen closely to their concerns and answer their questions as honestly as possible. Children commonly do not speak their mind, so read between the lines and try to address the hidden concerns in their questions and statements and, above all, always make sure that you reaffirm that they in no way contributed to the downfall of your marriage and that you and they are loved.
- Never use your children as bargaining tools: When you are in the middle of a heated divorce, the thought of using your children to get back at your former spouse might cross your mind. Perhaps you considered refusing support or visitation, but it is important to never act on these thoughts. Moreover, you should never make your children feel as though they must choose sides. Ultimately, this will hurt them more than it will hurt your former spouse, so spare your children this pain and allow them to love both of you equally and without guilt.
Family Law Attorneys in Reno
If you and your spouse decided to move forward with a divorce, you should not hesitate to seek the skilled legal representation you need during this difficult time to ensure you are able to achieve the best possible settlement for your situation. At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. in Reno, our family law attorney has over 17 years of experience in assisting clients through what is often a complex and emotional process.
Get started on your divorce case today and reach out to our law office at (775) 204-0388 to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable attorney.