Ending a marriage or long-term relationship is hard on everyone, even if it’s for the best. Children are especially devastated by the ending of their parents’ relationship, so if you’re planning to divorce and you have kids, here are five tips to consider before you break the news to them.
Tip No. 1: Write out what you want to say. Before you sit down with the children, you and your soon-to-be ex need to decide what you’re going to say to them and how. Writing out the approach you want to take will make it easier and ensure that nothing is left to chance. Agree that you will not argue with or blame one another, or force the kids to choose between you two.
Tip No. 2: Make sure you have plenty of time to talk. It’s hard to tell exactly how much time you will need, but allow for at least an hour so the children can process the information and ask questions. Don’t do it before bedtime or before you and/or your spouse leave for work.
Tip No. 3: Be certain. If you and your spouse are still trying to salvage the relationship, don’t tell the children that divorce is a possibility. It will only make them anxious.
Tip No. 4: Be prepared for ongoing support. You’re not done after you break the news. It will take a while for the children to process the news, and they’ll probably ask you the same questions over and over. They’ll also need extra time and attention to reassure themselves that your feelings for them have not changed.
Tip No. 5: Maintain a regular routine. To make your children feel more secure in the wake of such a life-changing event, preserve their routines as much as possible. If at all possible, keep them at the same school and drive them to the same after-school activities such as sports, gymnastics, etc.
School-age children know what divorce means: chances are that they have friends whose parents are no longer together. Expect them to be worried about where they will live and go to school, and assure them that they are loved and cared for no matter what.
If you are considering divorce and would like to know more about the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.