Telling your kids about your divorce is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. But it’s important to remember that they need to hear it from you, in your own words. Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking to your kids about divorce:
Choose the Right Time and Place
Don’t tell your kids about your divorce when they’re rushed or stressed. Choose a time when you can be calm and relaxed, and when they’re not surrounded by other people.
For example, you might want to tell them on a weekend when they’re not busy with school or friends or extracurricular activities. You could also choose to tell them in a private setting where you won’t be interrupted by people or phones.
Be Honest, but Age-Appropriate
Don’t sugarcoat things or bend the truth with your kids—but don’t go into too much detail either. Tailor your explanation to their age and maturity level.
If your kids are young, you might want to say something simple like, “Mommy and Daddy are having some problems, and we’ve decided to get a divorce, which means we will not be married anymore”
If your kids are older, you might want to be more specific about the reasons for your divorce and explain that despite trying, you and your spouse cannot resolve these issues.
Reassure Them That You Love Them
Let your kids know that your divorce is not their fault, and that you still love them very much. It’s important to emphasize that your love for your kids is not changing, even though your relationship with your spouse is.
Talk About the Changes That Will Happen
Explain that things will be different after the divorce, but that you’ll do everything you can to make the transition as smooth as possible. Let your kids know that they might have to move to a new home, change schools, or spend less time with one of you. You can reassure them that you’ll be there to help them through these changes and address their concerns.
Answer Their Questions
Don’t be afraid to answer your kids’ questions, even if they’re difficult. The more they know, the less likely they are to jump to conclusions or come up with their own narrative. It’s important to be honest with your kids, even if it’s uncomfortable. If they ask questions about why you’re getting a divorce, try to answer them in a way that they can understand. If you’re not ready to discuss those details, you can explain to them that you’re still working through some things, and that you’ll answer those questions in the future.
It may take your kids some time to adjust to the changes that come with divorce. They may be sad or angry for a while. Be patient with them, and let them know that you’re there for them whenever they need you.
Divorce is a big change for everyone involved, and it’s important to give your kids time to adjust. Be patient with them, and let them know that you’re there for them whenever they need you.
Avoid Blaming Each Other
It’s important to present a united front to your kids, even if you’re not happy with your spouse. Avoid blaming each other or talking negatively about your spouse in front of your kids.
Agree on a Parenting Plan
This will help to ensure that your kids have a stable and consistent home life after the divorce. Talk to your spouse about how you want to share custody of your children, how you’ll handle holidays and vacations, and how you’ll communicate with each other about your kids.
Call in a Professional if Needed
If you’re struggling with talking to your kids about your divorce, or if they’re having difficulty adjusting, don’t be afraid to seek help from an experienced professional. A therapist can help you and your kids work through your feelings and come to terms with your divorce.
Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are resources available to help you and your children through this tough time.
Attorney O’Connor has extensive experience with divorce, collaborative divorce, divorce mediation and military divorce and and is available to serve you in Tampa Bay, Brandon, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Plant City, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County and Osceola County.