Divorce is a challenging and emotional process, especially when it involves children. That is why parents must communicate with their children about this life-altering decision in a sensitive and thoughtful manner.
While the conversation may be difficult, approaching it from a place of love and kindness can be the first step towards healing.
Prepare and plan ahead
Before having the discussion, it is important to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Have a clear understanding of why the decision is necessary and be ready to address any questions or concerns your children may have. Consider the best time and place for this conversation to ensure a calm and private setting.
Assure them it is not their fault
Children often blame themselves for their parents’ divorce, so you must reassure them that the decision is not their fault. Explain that grown-up problems have nothing to do with their behavior or actions.
Be honest and age-appropriate
When explaining divorce to your children, honesty is always the best policy. However, you must use age-appropriate language and concepts that they can understand. Younger children may need simpler explanations, while teenagers can handle more complex discussions. You should also avoid overloading them with unneeded details.
Present a unified front
If possible, both parents should be present when discussing divorce with their children. This demonstrates that you are still a united front when it comes to their well-being. Presenting a unified message can also provide them with a sense of stability during an uncertain time.
Maintain routine and consistency
Amidst the many changes brought on by divorce, try to maintain as much routine and consistency as possible. This helps children feel secure and grounded when changing residences or attending new schools.
Avoid blaming or badmouthing
Resist the temptation to blame your ex-spouse or speak negatively about them in front of your children. This can be confusing and hurtful for kids. Instead, encourage a respectful and amicable co-parenting relationship to benefit your children.
Forbes reports that 689,308 divorces took place in 2021. Even when the process is in the best interest of all involved, the majority of kids will have a hard time accepting the split. However, parents can mitigate bad feelings with their words and actions.