Going through a divorce is a difficult time in and of itself, but when children are involved, it can create another level of stressors. The anticipation of how and when to approach your children about you and your spouse’s decision to divorce can be gut wrenching.
Regardless of how well you and your spouse are getting along, the best decision you can make is to inform your children together about the divorce. It should be a team effort with one simple explanation. This will help avoid misconstrued information or blaming of the other parent when he or she is not around.
The following are a few ideas to help deliver the news of your divorce easier:
- Only bring up the divorce conversation once you and your spouse have come to a 100% decision to move forward with the divorce.
- As already mentioned, make it a team effort and tell your children together (if circumstances allow you to do so).
- Keep the explanation simple and do not blame anyone for the circumstances.
- Be sure to time the conversation appropriately. Speak with your children when you are going to be around them to comfort them and answer any questions they may have. Do not tell them before school, during vacations, activities, etc.
- Be prepared for a lot of questions. When your child/children do ask questions, be patient and give simple and honest answers without divulging too much information that isn’t necessary for the children to know.
- Be mindful of any changes in behavior from your children. Each child will handle the news differently. Some children may regress, appear unemotional, become distant or lash out. Whereas others may become very emotional, crave more attention, be clingy or become depressed. Behavior and performance in school can change as well. Inform your children’s teachers as to what is going on at home, so they are mindful if they notice a change of behavior in the classroom.
- If you find that you are having a difficult time handling the divorce and your children’s wellbeing, do not be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You will only be successful in helping your children through this difficult time if you are able to do the same.
Divorce is difficult for all parties involved, especially impressionable children. While the beginning stages may be a struggle, it will get better with time. Be there for your children when they need you, keep them on a schedule with school, and take time for yourself when needed.