When married parents decide to end their marriage, often their biggest concern is not for themselves, but for their children. While the changes that come with divorce can be a challenge for any child to overcome, studies show that children are more than capable of adapting to a two-home family. One thing parents often worry about when they come to the realization that their marriage is over is how they will tell the children about the split. There is no perfect way to tell your kids that you and their other parent are getting a divorce, but there are some things you can do to minimize confusion and distress during the discussion.
Have the Conversation Together as a Family
Even if you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot stand to be around each other, it can be incredibly beneficial for parents to tell children about the divorce at the same time. Presenting a united front in this way shows children that although you may be ending the marriage, you are still parents and will work together to care for the children. Using words like “we” and “us” can help reassure the children that neither parent is going to abandon them. Make sure to tell the children that this decision was made by the adults and was not the result of anything the children did.
Allow Children Space to React to the News
There is a wide variety of ways that children respond to the news of the divorce. Some children will have known that this conversation was coming while others will be completely surprised. Some children will cry or get angry when they hear of the divorce while others paradoxically have little to no visible reaction. Children may feel relieved, happy, anxious, afraid, angry, or confused when they are told that their parents are getting a divorce. After the conversation, allow your child space to feel their feelings and then follow up with them later about any loose ends or clarifications.
Be Open to Questions But Be Selective
It is always good for parents to be open to questions from their children. After the conversation about the divorce, children will probably have follow-up questions. Questions like “will we still have birthday parties?” will be easy to respond to while other questions may be more difficult to answer. Do not feel like you have to answer every question your child asks. Children do not need to know details about how or why the marriage ended, but instead, need to be reassured that their parents still love them will provide for them.
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, call us at 630-871-1002 today.