For many couples, the most worrying thing about divorce is how it will affect the kids. Parents worry how to tell them and, worse yet, what the other parent will say about them. The stress and worry can have a huge impact on the entire family. To reduce them, here are some things to keep in mind about talking with your kids.
Each Family Is Different
Each family is different, and each child is different. There is no one best way to tell children about divorce, so it’s best to do what is right for your family. When you have the conversation, keep the message age appropriate. Choose a time when your children are not likely to be overly stressed or tired. And choose a location where you will be comfortable having a talk.
Remember That the Conversation Will Be Memorable
Most adult children of divorced parents can tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news. So, when you choose the time and place for your conversation, consider how your children will remember it.
Gather the Whole Family and Tell Everyone
Telling only some of your children forces those children to keep a secret that they may not be mentally and emotionally prepared to keep. So, sitting everyone down together is best. If you and your spouse are on reasonably good terms, it may be best for you to tell the children together. That way, you can coordinate the message and convey some very important ideas–that their parents still love them very much, and that both parents will continue to work together to be present in their children’s lives.
Answer Questions and Keep Talking
Divorce can be hard to talk about, and it may be painful to answer some of your children’s questions. But it’s best to keep lines of communication open. Answer the questions you can as appropriately, honestly and openly as possible. Encourage your children to come to you with questions. Check in with them regularly to see how they are doing and how the divorce is affecting them as things change.
It may be tempting to talk badly about your ex–especially if they are not fulfilling their obligations. But saying negative things about the other parent can cause stress and worry for your children. When talking with them about the divorce, it’s best to avoid saying negative things (even if you’re thinking them).
Questions About Divorce? Ask a Lawyer.
If you have questions about how divorce might affect your children and what steps you can take, get started by scheduling a confidential consultation. At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we have answers and insight. Call 1-817-755-1852.