Sharing the news with your children that you are divorcing is one of the most difficult parent-child conversations you will ever have. Whether or not the decision to divorce is beyond your control, the conversation should be handled with tact, grace, and understanding. This is a critical opportunity to set the tone for your children’s future relationships with both parents and extended family. Here are some tips to help jumpstart the conversation with your children:
Choose the Timing
Considering a divorce or separation? Wait until you are sure before you tell your children. Although honesty is the best policy, the uncertainty of their future home life can confuse them. There is never a good time to break the news to your children, but there is such a concept as bad timing. Avoid having the conversation on school days, right before an extracurricular activity, while you are rushing off to work or waiting until bedtime. Choose a moment when you’ll be together afterward to provide your children with plenty of support.
Keep Things Simple
Speak clearly by using language your children will understand. Avoid complicating things by limiting the reason and explanation to only a few sentences. Communicate with your spouse before the conversation to create a schedule of visitation days to share with the children. The comfort of a routine will benefit the child and show that both parents are working together. Make sure to explain that you are both trying to do what is best for the entire family. Lastly, provide your children with an opportunity to ask questions.
Talk to Your Children Together
Even if you disagree with everything else, taking a joint approach is important to preserving your children’s trust in both parents. This also confirms to your children the decision to separate or divorce is mutual. Reassure your children that you both love them and that this is not their fault. Even once you divorce, you still want to maintain an amicable co-parenting relationship, so building a solid foundation of communication now is important.
Avoid the Blame Game
Avoid arguing in front of your children at all costs. There is no reason to burden them with your marital grievances whether it is focused on financial issues, infidelity, or just irreconcilable differences. Refrain from criticizing or speaking negatively to your children about the other parent. Your children should have strong relationships with both parents and not feel persuaded to choose sides.
From pre-divorce negotiations to full jury trials, Family Law attorneys Trinity Hundredmark and Patrick McDonough have the experience to make the process easier for you and your family. They are committed to helping their clients reach the best possible outcome, especially when there are children involved. Contact us to request a private case evaluation.