Informing your children of your decision to divorce can be one of the most difficult conversations parents can have. Divorce will inevitably have an impact on the kids. However, understanding, compassion, patience and love can help parents to navigate the process.
According to Kids Health, here are some steps that parents can take to help their children cope with divorce:
Break the news together
If at all possible, it is recommended to have both parents present when talking to children for the first time about divorce. Reassurance that all parties involved will get through this difficult experience can bring comfort. It is important to relay the message to children that the problem is between their mother and father, and they have no blame for the divorce.
Answer their questions
It is important to help answer the many questions that they are sure to have. If you do not currently have the answers, it is important to not give false hope about things that are still being decided. Children will surely want to know where they will live, go to school and if they will be able to see their friends. If the answers are not clear, just reassure them that you both are working on the answers and you will inform them just as soon as decisions are made.
Aim for a consistent routine
Divorce can disrupt routines, activities and schedules. It is important to try and maintain as much consistency as possible for the welfare of the child. Having a solid parenting plan can help alleviate fears about inconsistency and minimize disruption.
Keep the kids out of the parental conflict
It is important to not fight or argue in front of kids. Conflict is sure to happen during a divorce, but children should not have a front-row seat to witness it.
Setting the stage today for a cooperative relationship with your ex-spouse (at least where the kids are concerned) can also help guide your interactions as you develop the parenting plan you’ll need for the future.