For parents to make the decision of getting divorced is more painful as they have got children. Regardless of how old are the kids, it is hard for them to accept the decision of ending the marriage made by their parents. The memory of finding out the differences in the marriage of their parents always remain in their heart. Unfortunately, many kids do not forget that day.
Divorce is difficult for any child at any age to deal with. Often parents don’t know how to handle the situation. If you are planning for divorce, you might be wondering as how to inform your kids about it.
Here are some advices on the best ways to inform children about your decision.
First Talk with Your Spouse:
No matter whether you are filing the petition or your spouse is doing so, you need to think about the well being of your kids as a parent. Also give much thought to the setting and circumstances when you plan to break the news. For them, both of you are equally important. For the sake of them, put aside the hurt and anger you may be feeling towards your spouse. This will help in making an open communication regarding decisions as what details you’ll need to tell them and how you will be going to handle the whole situation. Without prior conversation, you may end up making mistakes in front of them which you will be definitely going to regret later on. Make a promise with yourself that no matter what you and your spouse will behave like a good parent.
Inform Children As A Couple:
If possible, both you and your spouse should be present while informing your kids about your decision. This sends an important message that both of you love them a lot. This also sends the message that no matter what they still has a family and can rely on both of you. Make them realize that you and your spouse will remain actively involved in their lives. Here it is important to note that if you have more than one child, tell all of your children about your decision at one time. Breaking the news differently can break their heart and also their trust for you. Later on you can always go for separate conversation depending upon their age.
Avoid the Game of Blaming:
It is important to break the news to your kids in a very calm manner. This is essential as the manner in which you break the news to your children will have a direct impact on how they will react. You and your spouse must get your story straight so that you don’t contradict one another or argue while you are breaking the news to your kids. If you start blaming each other in front of them, they will become confused and stressed out too. Try to spread the idea that the decision is made mutually and there is no one to blame.
Give Your Reasons:
It is obvious that your children will want to know why this is happening in their life. If they don’t get a reason they will start blaming them as the cause for divorce. This is why it is important to let them know that they are not the reason behind your decision. Be honest with them about why you are ending the marriage, but remember to keep their ages in mind and avoid sharing too many details behind your decision. Always be prepared to give some type of general explanation and the reason should be the same from both of you.
Prepare Children About the Changes:
When you break the news to your children, try to convey the message also that there will be certain changes in their lives also. Prepare your kids for some of the changes to come. You can do so by being honest about what you know, and what you don’t know. Explain to them as who they will be living with, how often they will see the other parent and tell them about any changes that might take place due to the divorce. Here it is important to reassure them that instead of the changes, they will be able to maintain a quality relationship with both their Mom and Dad. Also send the message clearly that nothing can change your love for them and that you both will continue to be involved in their lives. But never make promises that you can’t keep. Here you need to be both practical and honest.
Give them Time:
Never expect that once you inform the kids about your decision to terminate the marriage, they will behave normally. Just like you they even need time to grasp and the time period vary from one child to the other. Give them the space and time to adjust to this news. It is a huge change for them and they see and judge things related to the future in their own way. You simply cannot force things on them. In the meantime, be patient with their needs and make the effort to spend more and more quality time with them. This will help them to feel secure and make them realize that they are still the top priority in your life.
Don’t Expect Positive Reactions:
As such news are unexpected for kids, it will be wrong to expect positive reactions from them. You never know how they will be reacting. For instance, they can cry, show anger, feel isolated or stop talking to you. Children are sensitive and they do not know how to express their intense emotions appropriately when they get to know they will not be living together as a family. Overall the reaction of children depends on many factors such how you and your spouse are involved in their lives, the relationship between you and your spouse, how you delivered the news to them and so on. You can even ask them about how they feel about Mom and Dad getting separated to know their reaction.
Answer Their Questions:
As soon as you break the news, children will have many questions. For example, depending on their ages, they may want to know like Where will they live?, Will they still go to the same school?, Will you and your spouse still live in the same town?, Will they spend time with each of you?, Can they continue their music or dance lessons?, How will you share parenting responsibilities?, Can they still go for vacation together next summer?, Where will their pet live?, and so on. Try to be honest and clear in your responses. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it but never make the mistake of giving them a wrong answer.
Monitor Your Child’s Behavior:
At times it is very difficult for a child to handle the news that their Mom and Dad will not be living together anymore. Monitor the way they are behaving after knowing the news. Inform your children’s teachers, babysitters, other caregivers, the parents of their close friends, and any other adults who they see regularly about your divorce plans. This will help you to know about any significant changes in their behaviour. In case of any changes, be prepared to do whatever you need to do to make them feel secured. When you are not able to comfort them, consider involving a school counselor, divorce counselor, social worker, relative, or another adult who’s especially close to them. They can help your children during this difficult situation.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
- Always be honest with your kids about why you’re planning such an action.
- Always keep their ages in mind before disclosing too much information.
- Do be very clear with them that they are not the reason behind all this.
- Never show your anger in from of them as it makes a bad impression about you in their mind.
- Always emphasize that Mom and Dad will always remain the same for them even after the legal battle.
- Always remind them that they are safe, innocent and very much loved.
- Don’t try to hide the fact that there will be plenty of changes in their lives in the coming days.
- Don’t get emotional like start crying when you tell your kids about your plan.
- Don’t allow your grief to interfere with the time you spend with them.
- Don’t say negative things about your spouse to your children or to someone else within hearing distance of them.
- Don’t ever try to use them as liaisons between you and your spouse.
- Don’t interfere in your children’s relationship with your spouse.
- Don’t pressure your kids to choose sides.
- Avoid making dramatic changes in their daily routines.
- Avoid making them your confidantes. Keep your worries and concerns to yourself.
- Don’t look to your children for comforting. It should work the other way around.
- Don’t expect them to become responsible within no time. They need to grow at their own pace.
To conclude, the above mentioned advices in no way guarantee that your children will be comfortable with your announcement. Following these advices on how to inform your kids about your decision of divorce will set the stage for them to see that although their parents may not stay together they will always be there for them. During and after divorce try to provide them with all the love, attention, and support that they need throughout from their Mom or Dad.