One of the biggest worries and fears that parents have during a divorce is how the end of their marriage will affect their children. While it is no secret that divorce can put children through some stress and uncertainty, it is often the best action to take for the sake of the family. Children who are raised in unhappy households are more likely to have self-esteem problems, trust issues, and in some cases, even behavioral or emotional issues that can follow them for the rest of their lives. Telling the children about your divorce can seem like a daunting task, but these tips can help you have a meaningful and productive conversation.
Tip #1: Tell All of Your Children at the Same Time
Many parents make the mistake of not talking to all of their children together when breaking the news of their divorce. They may think that younger children should be sheltered from the news of a divorce, while older children can be trusted with this information. This often puts unfair and unnecessary stress on older children to keep the secret of the divorce from younger children. It is often best to gather your children together and tell them all at the same time to avoid any unnecessary difficulties.
Tip #2: Talk in a Way Your Kids Will Understand
Each child is going to be different when it comes to how much they understand about the divorce and what it all means. Younger children typically have a more difficult time understanding what a divorce is, so simple and clear messages usually work best when explaining things to them. Older children and teenagers tend to need more information about the news of a divorce, but you should still use caution when revealing details about why the marriage has broken down.
Tip #3: Be Prepared for Mixed Reactions
Just as children will have different levels of understanding, they will also have different ways of processing the news. Some children may take the news easily and only have a few questions. Other children may have more difficulty, and they may begin to internalize the issues. It is important to allow your children to feel whatever they need to feel in order to comprehend the situation and begin to heal from it.
Tip #4: Be Open to Answering Questions
Children of all ages may struggle to have a full grasp on what a divorce actually means. As such, your children will probably have a lot of questions about their lives and the upcoming changes they will be experiencing. Common things that children wonder about include where they will live, whether or not they will go to the same school, and how often they will get to see each parent. You should be open and answer their questions as honestly as possible.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney
Making the decision to get a divorce is never easy, but once you have made that choice, you need the knowledge and skills of a Wheaton divorce lawyer to guide you through the process. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we have many decades of experience helping families address the issues of divorce, including child-centered issues such as parenting time or the allocation of decision-making responsibilities. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-871-1002.