You and your spouse have decided that it is time to get a divorce and the next step is telling the kids. You need to determine the best way to go about this and tackle it together. Kids are resilient, but they need to know that their family is not falling apart — just being reorganized.
Telling the Kids About the Divorce
For most parents, this is one of the hardest parts of the divorce process. Their lives are about to change forever and as parents, you likely have a tremendous amount of guilt surrounding that. As parents we want to protect our children from pain, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep your cool and break the news to your kids together. Never blame one parent or the other during the discussion.
If you have kids of different ages, you need to make the conversation age appropriate for the children involved. Teenagers, although you may feel like they are more apt to handle the situation, are often the most difficult. Seeking a child psychologist to help your children through the adjustment may also be helpful. When it is time to have the conversation, be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Was it my fault? Many kids will blame themselves for the divorce. Be sure to reassure them that it is definitely not their fault and remind them that you are not divorcing them. It is the parents who made the decision to divorce each other.
- Will you get back together? Many kids will be hopeful that what they are hearing is all a bad dream and that their parents will work things out and get back together. Any time they see their parents getting along, they may think that their parents will fix things. If you know that getting back together is not going to happen, you need to let your children know that up front.
- If I do something wrong will we split apart, too? Kids need to be reassured that you will always be with them, no matter if they do good or bad things. Let them know that although mom and dad are not together anymore, they are still a family, just a different kind of family.
- What should I tell my friends? Depending how old your child is, they may think it is important to tell their friends. You can let your child know that lots of kids go through the same experience and that your divorce is not a negative reflection on them. It is a decision that mom and dad made together that they feel is best for them.
- Will you both be at my birthday? The answer to this question depends on how well you and your spouse are getting along. Of course, you need to try to be as civil as possible during milestone events, but if this is not possible, let your child know they will have two special days, one with each parent.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Regardless of the questions your kids ask, you need to do your best to give them the details that they need without the adult part of it. They need to know that their future is secure, that they will get to see both parents, and that it is not their fault. Although they may not get their wish of getting their parents together, they should be able to have parents who will work together as much as possible for the best possible outcome for the entire family. If you are facing a divorce, you likely need the guidance of a family law attorney. The attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law can help you ensure that this difficult time in your life goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.