How to Tell Your Children You Are Divorcing
Divorce is difficult on children. Even though research shows that most children ultimately adapt to their parents divorcing, many will initially struggle. So many of our clients dread telling their children, and there is no “easy” way to do it.
At our firm, we have seen many mothers and fathers rise to the challenge and disclose the divorce in a compassionate, supportive way. Our Jupiter divorce lawyer offers tips on how to do it right.
Settle on a Story Beforehand
With your spouse, you should decide what you want to say. Obviously, now is not the time to levy accusations against your spouse. You also can’t make promises, such as, “We’ll always live in this home,” unless you are 100% sure that is true. Nevertheless, many parents emphasize the following:
- They are separating because they no longer get along
- The divorce is not the children’s fault
- Both parents will continue to love their children
- Some things might change, but their parents will always be there for them
Try to keep information to a minimum. As some psychologists have noted, hearing about divorce can be traumatic for children, and too much information is overwhelming.
Tell Your Children Together
Telling your children together has many benefits. For one, you present the same story. For another, your children will see that you can continue to work together even though you have agreed to separate.
Parents.com also recommends that you tell all the family at once. This way, each child will hear about the divorce directly instead of from a sibling. Find a time when everyone can be together to discuss the divorce.
Of course, not all parents can tell their children jointly. For example, you might be the victim of domestic violence, in which case you need a restraining order against your spouse. Nevertheless, if possible, present a united front.
Answer Questions Tactfully
Some children will immediately pepper their parents with questions while others will withdraw, which is okay too. Remind your children that they can ask any question that they want. You might find that children come to you individually in the following weeks to ask questions or share concerns.
However, when answering questions, parents should be mindful of what they disclose. You do not need to tell your children about Dad’s infidelity or Mom’s gambling addiction. Instead, you can speak more generally, saying something like, “Mom needs some time to get her life squared away.”
Be Mindful of the Impact on Adult Children
Even adult children can take the news very hard that their parents are divorcing. After all, adult children might be modeling their own marriages or relationships on your marriage. Hearing that you are divorce can strike a heavy blow to their confidence in their own relationships.
Tell adult children in the same manner you would younger children. Expect older children to come to you over the course of months to check in on the divorce and ask for information.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Caroline Olson, P.A. has helped many men and women divorce in a sensible, cost-effective manner. If you need help with your divorce or separation, schedule a free consultation with us today. We serve Jupiter, Boca Raton, and Plantation.