When parents decide to get a divorce, the thought of having to tell the kids may seem overwhelming and stressful. Although it may be tempting to brush off the conversation, it is important to plan for what to say.
Divorce is hard enough for children, but the whole experience may be less emotionally devastating if parents handle it correctly.
Prepare and present together
According to Parents.com, this conversation is not something to do on the fly, and it is important to discuss what to say ahead of time. Both parents should explain the situation as a united front. Use “we” to explain what is happening, and make sure the kids understand that mom and dad love them and will continue to be there for them, no matter what the living situation will be. It is usually better to tell all kids at the same time and to make sure they know it is not their fault.
Be honest and open
According to Psychology Today, it is important to be direct and let the kids know what things will stay the same and what will be different. Answer all questions as honestly as possible, even if the answer is “I don’t know.” As far as the details of why the divorce is happening, it is not always the best idea to share things, such as affairs or legal issues, that are not age appropriate.
Support their feelings
Depending on the age and personality of the kids, each child will react differently to the news. Some may have a bunch of questions right away, while others may retreat emotionally and physically. Be open to all feelings, and make sure to make room for the kids to talk when they are ready.