It is often said that divorce is hardest on the children. Even if the split is amicable, it’s still a tragedy that children have to witness their parents go their separate ways. But if divorce is inevitable, you will ultimately need to tell your children about it one way or another. Cohen Family Law isn’t just in the business of dispensing legal counsel to family law clients. We also help parents deal with the practical realities of their divorces. Here, we share some tips on how to break the news of your divorce to your kids.
Tip 1: Tell your children the truth
There’s no point in hiding the fact that you and the other parent are splitting up. Although you should not share every detail with your children, and the information you present to them must be age-appropriate, your kids do have a right to know why the divorce is happening. Explain to them the basics and answer the questions they will inevitably have.
Tip 2: Don’t bash the other parent
Divorce is highly emotional for everyone involved, and it may be tempting to place blame for the divorce on the other parent. But keep in mind two things: first, the other party to your divorce is also the child’s parent and loves him or her very much. Also, courts do not want to see what could look like an attempt to alienate your child’s affections away from the other parent.
Tip 3: Be upfront about what will change (and what won’t)
Your divorce will unavoidably change every aspect of your family dynamic, especially for your kids. Prepare your children for what those changes will look like so they aren’t caught off guard when they happen. But also reassure them by reminding them of what routines and norms will not be changing.
Tip 4: Listen to your children
This was alluded to above and is worth emphasizing here. Your kids will undoubtedly have questions about the divorce. And it’s highly likely they will also have their own feelings and thoughts they want to share. Give your kids the space they need to ask questions, express themselves, and let you know how they are feeling.
Tip 5: Make sure your children know the divorce isn’t their fault
Some kids, especially younger ones, tend to misinterpret the divorce as somehow being their fault. It is imperative that you make it clear from the beginning that this is not the case. However you wish to explain the divorce should certainly be the result of considerable and patient thought. Regardless, it should be clear to your kids that they are not to blame.
Tip 6: Be mindful of timing
The manner in which you break the news of the divorce is critical, but so is the timing. You need to select a time in which you and your children are calm. If you have recently had a negative interaction with the other parent, for example, but you’ve not yet informed your kids of the divorce, give it some time before doing so.
Tip 7: Remind your children that you love them
Above all, make sure to emphasize to your children how much you love and care for them. Let them know that the divorce won’t change your feelings for them and it won’t change the fact that you will be there to support them, regardless of the outcome. Expressing your love to your children can prevent many problems before they arise.
Here To Walk With You Through Your Divorce
There’s no denying that the end of a marriage is difficult, but there are ways to make it less traumatic for you and for your children. Talk to the professionals at Cohen Family Law. We’re here to make divorce less troublesome while also protecting you and your rights each step of the way. Give us a call today to learn more.