For many people who are contemplating divorce, merely breaking the news to their children is the scariest part. Sure, there are a lot of other issues that will have to be resolved during marriage dissolution, such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support, which we have discussed on this blog on numerous occasions, but this week we want to shift gears and help you better prepare to tell your children that you’re ending your relationship with their other parent. Although it can be a nerve-wracking thing to do, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact on your children and ensure that life moves forward as smoothly as possible.
Tips for breaking the news of divorce to your children
If you’re reading this post, then you’re probably afraid of how your children are going to react to news of a divorce. However, by following these steps you might find the process easier than you expected:
- Plan: You shouldn’t improvise this conversation. Come up with a plan and try to stick to it. This will ease some of the stress.
- Be united: It might be hard, but if it’s possible you should try to break the news with your spouse. This can help your children see that the dissolution was a mutual decision and that you’ll continue to be a family despite the divorce. This can also avoid you being blamed by your children for the divorce.
- Don’t blame your spouse: Don’t play the blame game. Placing blame can backfire and leave your children with resentment for both parents. It can also make co-parenting a nightmare moving forward.
- Reassure: Tell your children that you love them and that they are free to feel whatever emotions come to them, which can vary significantly. Let them know that they can always come to you and that you’ll be honest with them.
- Identify what won’t change: Children thrive on routine, and divorce threatens to upend that. By identifying the things that won’t change, you can help provide your children with a certain amount of calm amongst the storm.
You can do this
We know that nearly every aspect of divorce can be tough. But don’t let that dissuade you from escaping a toxic marriage. You’re strong, and you and your children can get through this tough time stronger and better.