You’ve made the decision to file for divorce, and now you are wondering how to break the news of divorce to the kids. Now what? The first thing you must do is tell the children about the divorce. In order to build trust amongst the children and lessen the chance that they will form resentment is by letting the children know immediately about the divorce. Kids are extremely resilient and in Marietta, Georgia advising the children that their family isn’t falling apart, but the family is being re-organized.
Steps to Break the News of Divorce to the Kids
Most parents, understandably, feel awful in having to tell their children about their pending divorce and how all their lives are going to be permanently changed. Such a task can generate tremendous pangs of guilt, sadness, and anger. Moreover, parents want to protect their children from the emotional pain of divorce and want to protect their children from viewing themselves as the cause of the divorce. When you break the news of divorce to your children, they don’t want to hear that it is someone’s fault.
The first step begins with figuring out between you and your spouse how you are going to break the news of divorce to the kids. As parents, it is key to keep calm an never blame one another.
If you have kids of different ages then the conversation must be age appropriate. Often times, the teenagers are the most difficult, even though you think that they are more apt to handle the situation, but many times that is not the case. If you have a mix of ages, there is no perfect answer but we do have a few helpful tips when it comes to breaking divorce news to the kids. Sometimes, the act of just telling your children that their parents are getting divorced is the hardest part of the conversation. Seeking a child psychologist to help your family through the adjustment can also be very helpful, as many of us are built with the right toolkit to handle a family divorce. Anyone who has been through a divorce knows how difficult and complicated divorce can get, especially when children are involved.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
1. Was it my fault?
Many kids blame themselves. “If only I had just cleaned my room when my mom asked,” or “if only I had just finished my homework on time,” or, “if only I hadn’t told dad that mom yelled at me..”
The best response is to reassure your children that they are certainly not at fault. Remind them that you are not divorcing them and that it is mom and dad who made the decision to divorce each other.
2. Will you get back together? Is it really over?
Most kids are hopeful that the divorce will one day end up being a bad dream and they will wake up with their parents together again. When they see their parents getting along at an event, they might think, “Well if they are getting along now maybe they can fix things.”
If you are certain your marriage is heading for a divorce and is not just a trial separation, it is important to let your kids know that as soon as possible.
3. If I do something bad will we split too?
“No, we will never split. I will always be your mom and dad will always be your dad. We are still a family, just a different kind of family. Daddy and I both love you no matter if you do good things or bad things so keep on being you.”
4. What am I going to tell my friends?
Depending on your child’s age, what their friends think may be very important to them. You can tell your child that there are probably many of his/her friends who are going through the same exact thing or have already gone through it or will in the future. Let them know that your divorce is not a reflection on them, but rather you and your ex-spouse decided to make this decision together and feel it is the best decision for the family.
5. Will you and dad both be at my birthday party?
This question depends on the level of animosity between you and your soon to be ex. It would be best if you both could put your child first and make an effort to be as civil to each other as possible during milestone events. If this is impossible, you can tell your child that he/she can have two separate birthday parties and that they will be able to spend an equal amount of time with each parent on their special day (or weekend).
Regardless of what questions may come up, parents must give the children the details they need, without the adult part of it. The why’s are not that important, what the future holds for the family is most important. If parents work together in their divorce, even if they weren’t able to work together in their marriage, the children will benefit. Remember that even if the first wish of children of divorce (i.e. that Mom and Dad will get back together) can’t come true, their second wish (i.e. that Mom and Dad will cooperate with each other and not fight) can come true. That is up to you.
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