If you have children and you are considering divorce, you may already know that the idea of talking to your children about divorce is just as terrifying as thinking about talking to your spouse about it. You and your spouse each love your kids dearly, and you may be afraid that no matter what the two of you say to them during any conversation about divorce could harm them. When parents think about discussing divorce with their children, they might feel sad, anxious, and many other feelings, too. If you and your spouse are now confident that you are going to divorce, it is time to take the next step and tell your children about the changes that are coming for your family.
One thing that divorcing parents can do to help make the conversation work more smoothly for the entire family is to plan in advance when the conversation will take place and what you will say. When you think about what to say, it is also important to decide on some ground rules for what you will not say. For example, it is more neutral to state that your relationship is not working out than it is to say that you are divorcing because one or the other of you did something specific that is wrong, such as drinking to excess or having an affair. In your effort to discuss what is happening without placing blame on anyone, also be sure to let the children know that what is happening is in no way their fault. It is also important to consider the ages of the children so that your message can be appropriate for their vocabulary and level of understanding. Perhaps the most important part of the conversation is making sure that there is ample reassurance of each of your love for them, and that although there will be changes to your daily life, that love will remain constant in their lives.
When you plan your conversation, it may also be useful to include some information about what changes you anticipate happening in your household and when they are likely to occur, if you know this information and you think it may be useful to one or more of your children. Some kids handle things better if they know about them well in advance, while others may become anxious or panicked over a future event once they learn of it. Remember that you and your spouse are the ones who know your kids best, so be sure to talk about the things that are most important to them. Some children will want to know where they will attend school, while others may be more focused on how much time they will get to spend with each parent or whether they will still be able to participate in a favorite activity.
When it is time to sit down with the kids, calmly present what you need to say by sticking to your plan and speaking gently and reassuringly, leaving plenty of time for the questions that are sure to arise. If you and your spouse take care to navigate this challenging conversation in a calm and positive way, it can set the stage for a healthy co-parenting relationship between the two of you. If you have questions about divorce, Kansas Family Law Attorney Thomas McDowell can help you. Please call our office today, at (316) 633-4322 to make an appointment for your initial consultation.