Telling your children about your pending divorce is a challenging conversation that can drum up a variety of emotions. Even if your children are old enough to understand that things aren't right between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it's still difficult to carry out this discussion.
Here are some steps you can take to ease the tension and comfort your children when telling them about your divorce:
- Do it together: It's not always possible, but you should consider the benefits of telling your children about your divorce alongside your spouse. This alone will give your children peace of mind, as they see you getting along and working together to provide them with stability.
- Have a plan: Telling your children about your divorce isn't as simple as blurting it out and seeing how they react. Plan out the conversation, such as by knowing how you'll lead into the discussion, what you want to say and how you'll deal with your children's reactions.
- Expect the worst: Some children will cry. Some will ask questions. Others will act like it doesn't bother them. When you expect the worst, you can plan for every possible scenario.
- Answer questions: Regardless of their age, your children will have questions about your divorce. Will I go to a new school? Will we live in the same house? Will this change how much time I spend with you? These are the types of questions your children will have. And in many cases, the questions will continue to come at you well into the future.
- Continue to check in: Don't assume that one conversation is all it will take to give your children peace of mind regarding your divorce. Continue to check in regularly, asking them how they are feeling and if they have any questions. This alone can go a long way in easing the tension and allowing them to slowly adjust to their new life.
It's a challenging conversation that no one wants to have, but if you need to tell your children about your divorce it's critical to do so at the appropriate time.
Once you have this conversation behind you, it's easier to turn your full attention to matters regarding child custody, visitation and child support.