Telling the children about the divorce is often cited as the most dreaded part of the divorce process by parents. In fact, 75 % of parents spend 10 minutes or less telling the children about the divorce. Before you tell your children about the divorce, consider spending some time making a game plan with your spouse.
At Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., we recognize there are no easy answers when it comes to telling your children about the divorce. However, we do offer the suggestions provided below, as well as those in the previous blog post, for your consideration as you contemplate how you will tell your children about the divorce.
Children and Divorce: Make Sure the Children Know the Grown-Ups Made the Decision
Children have a tendency to believe they caused or contributed to the divorce. They also tend to think they might be able to “fix it,” convincing their parents to change their minds about the divorce decision. Take a proactive approach, making sure they know that, as the parents, you made this decision. Make sure they know they did nothing to cause the divorce. Additionally, make sure they know there is nothing they, the children, can do to change the decision.
Children and Divorce: Make Sure the Children Know the Divorce is a Joint Decision
Regardless of who first broached the subject of divorce, and regardless of whether one parent wants the divorce “more,” when telling the children, present a united front. You can let them know you are sad about the divorce, or the changes the family will face, but children need the security of knowing their parents made this decision together. Children do not need to hear about who is “to blame” or who’s “fault” the divorce is.
Children and Divorce: Let the Children Know You are Available to Talk
Just as you and your spouse, together and separately, have talked and talked and talked about the divorce, your children will need to talk about the divorce as well. Expect the topic of your divorce to be revisited over time. Let your children know you are available if they want to talk about their feelings or have questions going forward.
Children and Divorce: Present a Clear Path Forward
Being children, they are likely going to ask child-centered questions. They will want to know if they will still go to the same school, whether they will still have the same schedule, and where they will live. When you tell your children about the divorce, make sure you have a clear path forward and are able to provide some answers to their basic questions. Children crave stability. The divorce will include some upheaval. As such, when and where you can, provide stability in the form of information. Particularly if you are planning on co-parenting, let the children know that early in the discussion.
If You Are Considering Divorce
If you are considering divorce, contact Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. at (561) 677-8090. Eric C. Cheshire focuses exclusively on family law issues. We know divorce is never easy. We will work with you to resolve the issues specific to your divorce and focus on the areas important to you.