Divorce can have a profound impact on everyone involved, including children. Given the vulnerabilities of your kids, you might be worried about how to best protect them as you navigate the marriage dissolution process. While there are certainly steps you can take to try to obtain a child custody and visitation arrangement that supports their best interests, protecting them really starts from the moment you break the news of divorce.
Tips for breaking the news of divorce to your children
There are effective ways to minimize the impact of the news of divorce on your children. Here are just a few of them:
- Have a plan: Don’t try to wing this conversation. Instead, know when, where, and how you’re going to break the news.
- Be united: Even if you can’t stand your spouse, you should try to break the news of divorce to your children together. This prevents your children from viewing one of you, the news breaker, as responsible for the disruption of their lives. It can also give them some sort of comfort that the decision was made together.
- Don’t blame: You might want to tell your children the reason behind the divorce and cast blame, but you should refrain from doing so as it can generate resentment from your spouse and your children. This can make co-parenting challenging and affect your relationship with your children.
- Provide reassurance: You need to remind your children that you love them, that they aren’t to blame, and that you’ll continue to be a family. Also, validate their feelings, and expect a wide spectrum of them, and be open and honest. This can reassure your children that you’re there for them.
- Focus on what won’t change: Divorce can bring a lot of upheaval to a child’s life, which oftentimes disrupts much needed routine. Draw your children’s attention to the things that won’t change after divorce. This might help them latch onto that aspect of stability.
We know that while these tips can be helpful, they won’t completely eliminate the impact of divorce on your children. But by competently preparing and advocating for yourself and your children, you can turn to a new chapter in life with confidence and support.