Breaking the news about your divorce is tough to begin with, but telling your kids about the same is probably one of the hardest things to do as parents. However, you and your partner can make the situation a little easier to cope with for your little ones by planning it in advance. Here are some handy tips to tell your kids about your divorce without hurting their sentiments and making them feel left behind.
1. Decide on How To Tell and When
Do not tell your kids about the divorce just a day before moving out; you will break their heart by doing so. Instead, choose an appropriate time to break the news, giving them some time to process it. Also, as a couple, decide ahead of time what you will say to your kids and match your narratives so that you don’t end up saying something completely different from your partner.
Once done, sit down with your child and tell them about your decision to separate, making sure both parents actively participate in the conversation. In case both parents can’t be present, the parent who spends more time with the child and is closer to them should break the news, ensuring not to paint their partner as the bad guy while making the announcement.
2. Tell Them the Truth
Do not fabricate the truth, as sooner or later they will know the real story. Instead, put forth the truth as simply as possible, making sure not to hurt your child with the wording. Sometimes, saying something as simple as “We can’t get along anymore” or “We no longer wish to live with each other” might be the best course of action. However, try to avoid telling your kids the ugly truth behind the divorce, especially if they are very young, as this will make it hard for your children to trust their parents.
3. Do Not Play the Blame Game
Do not ever play the blame game in front of your child, no matter how young or old they are. This will only create friction in your relationship with your kid and can even lead to them stopping loving and respecting their parents, which is never a good sign. So instead of blaming each other, show a united front and respect each other while breaking the news.
This is also crucial to prevent your child from feeling like they need to make a choice after the divorce and choose one parent over the other. As parents, we should make the process as seamless as possible for our little ones, assuring them that they don’t need to make a choice, thus making sure the divorce doesn’t cause them unnecessary stress.
4. Address the Change
Divorces lead to a major change in everyone’s lives, but it is the kids who are most affected by the separation. Thus, while telling your kids about the divorce, do discuss the changes that might take place in their lives.
Make it clear that most things will remain the same, like your love for them and you being their biggest supporter no matter where they are; but certain things might change, like seeing one of their parents only once or twice a week. This will help children to mentally prepare themselves for the changes without feeling like they are being permanently separated from one of their parents.
5. Provide Reassurance to Your Kids
Children tend to have many questions after hearing the news, so answer them as calmly as possible. However, most importantly, reassure them that you will be very much a part of their lives now and forever.
Clarify that no matter what, you will always meet them, spend special occasions together and stay in touch via phone, video calls, text messages, etc. Also, don’t forget to say “I love you” to show them that despite the divorce, you still love them a lot and will always do. Such reassurance is important for kids to accept the change that they will have to face going forward.
The divorce will most certainly be tough on you, but it will be even tougher on your kids, so communicate with them as much as possible and spend time with them whenever you can for their emotional well-being.