Anyone who’s experienced a divorce will tell you that ending a marriage is painful and emotionally overwhelming. For children, on the other hand, whether it’s right or not, the breakup of the family unit can be absolutely devastating.
In a sense, to your kids, it feels like the end of their world. That is why it is crucial to be cautious when breaking the news.
The following are general suggestions for telling your children about the divorce or separation:
- Talk to your kids as a couple – If possible, break the news together as a couple. Remember, just because you and your spouse won’t live together anymore, doesn’t mean that you are no longer parents. With both parents prepared to work as a team, it helps eliminate blame and makes it clear to the kids that their parents are united.
- Be clear and simple – For all children, their parents’ message should be simple and clear. Do not discuss any messy details since they could lead kids to believe that they need to resolve the issue or that they are the cause of the divorce.
- Let them know it is not their fault – Children need to know that there is nothing they have done that caused their parents to divorce. You need to let them know that the divorce was an adult decision, based on adult issues.
- Avoid the blame game – No matter how angry you might be, don’t blame your spouse for the separation in front of your children and avoid arguing in front of them. Again, keep all of the details to yourself.
- Answer any of their questions – This is especially true for older children, be as honest as possible with answering these questions without revealing too much information or blaming the other parent.
- Let them know that they will always be loved – Despite all of the changes that are going to happen to the family unit, make sure that your kids understand that the one thing that won’t change is the love each parent has for them. No matter what happens in the future, they need to know that you and the other parent will always be there for them.