When you’ve made a huge decision like getting a divorce, it’s hard to involve others in such a personal decision but you are left with no choice when it directly involves the kids. Some kids aren’t as surprised to find out their parents are getting divorced especially when fighting was frequent in the household. In other cases, children are hit with a bombshell when finding out the news because they were under the impression that their parents would be together forever.
It’s gut-wrenching for a child to hear their parents are getting divorced no matter what age they are, but there are ways to go about it that will make the conversation slightly smoother and less traumatizing. Here are some tips on how to handle the new with your children.
It’s important that you keep your emotions managed while you are giving the news. You may feel that you are spending all of your time keeping it together but it’s really important that you spare your kids that during this talk.
They need to feel what they feel during this conversation and they need to feel listened to. Be sure to acknowledge and accept their feelings. Do not let them see you get emotional because they may feel like they have to feel more concerned about your tears than their own emotions.
Many times kids are going to have tons of questions when you break the news. Be sure to be willing to answer them as well as you can. In other cases, they may respond in silence which shouldn’t be interpreted as indifference, rather, they are processing the information in their own way. They will most likely ask where they will live, if you are keeping the house and what it will mean for school.
Lastly, make sure you break the news in a neutral location. It’s a moment they’ll never forget so doing it at a place that’s meaningful to them will be detrimental. Avoid breaking the news close to a birthday or major holiday and don’t do it in a place they will feel trapped in like a car.
The goal is to be as gentle as possible with the news, allow your child to feel their emotions and to be open with questions and concerns they have in order to maintain healthy parent child relationships going forward.