How to Tell Your Kids About Your Divorce
Of all the challenges that accompany divorce, telling your children can be one of the most difficult. Their understanding often depends on how old they are; younger children are not able to comprehend the implications of divorce as much as older children. In addition to breaking the news to them in the right manner, you must be understanding of their response, no matter what it is. Every child is different; therefore, every child will react differently to the news of their parents splitting up.
So, is there a “best way” to tell your kids that you are getting a divorce? Although there is no one answer, there are different strategies you can use, as well as appropriate responses to have. Here are some tips for telling your kids about a divorce or separation.
If possible, tell them together.
Your situation might not allow you to share the news with your spouse, but if it is relatively amicable, try to break the news to your kids together. It could be confusing for kids to hear such big news from one parent and not the other, or hear one story from a parent and a different story from the other. Meet beforehand (if possible) and get on the same page about what you are going to tell your kids.
Stick to the three C’s: Clear, concise, constructive.
Ambiguity helps no one, and kids are a lot smarter than adults give them credit for. When you tell your children that you and your spouse are getting a divorce, do your best to explain the timeline of events, where they will be living, and what divorce means. Be detailed, but do not share unnecessary information with them. For example, your kids don’t need to know if someone was unfaithful. Don’t tell them something you are unsure of; if you are not sure if one spouse is moving out, don’t bring it up. They don’t need to add “confused,” to their stockpile of emotions!
Tell all your kids at the same time.
The worst possible way your kids could hear about your divorce is from someone other than you or your spouse. If possible, tell them as a group to avoid one sibling telling the other.
Don’t use negative language about your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
The first step of the divorce process is making the decision to get a divorce. Don’t start it off with hostility by speaking negatively about your ex-spouse or placing blame on the other party. Even if one spouse is “more to blame,” than the other, sharing negative details or speaking about them unkindly can plant seeds of bias in your children’s minds. Don’t be “that” parent.
Make sure they know that this is not their fault.
Kids are simultaneously tough as nails and fragile all at the same time. When you tell them about the divorce, convey to them that this is in no way their fault. Tell them that they are loved and will always be loved even if you and their other parent are not together. This is perhaps the most important step of telling your kids that you are getting a divorce.
Offer them resources outside of you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
If your kids are old enough, offer them the opportunity to talk to a counselor or therapist, but do not force them to see someone. They might express feelings to a third party that they don’t feel comfortable saying to you. Speaking with a counselor or therapist can help them work through the emotions they are experiencing.
Making the decision to get divorced is a big step. The attorneys at Brown & Dutton Law Firm want to help ease the transition and make sure you know what all of your rights are, as well as protect your family and their futures.
About Brown & Dutton Law Firm:
Family law matters affect your life deeply and personally. Family law is far more than just another “legal matter.” It impacts your life, your children’s lives, your finances, and your future.
Whether our clients are going through a complex divorce, a child custody issue, or have a modification need, they are our number one priority. At Brown & Dutton Family Law Firm, our family law attorneys take pride in supporting our clients and guiding them through any challenges they are facing. Helping our clients improve their quality of life is the reason we do what we do. We walk with clients every step of the way.
At Brown & Dutton Family Law Firm, we are a group of experienced divorce and family law attorneys in Georgia with years of litigation experience and countless satisfied clients.
The attorneys at Brown & Dutton would be honored to stand by your side during this difficult time. Jenni, Lance, and Tracy are experienced, transparent, and compassionate Georgia family lawyers that have been practicing attorneys for more than 30 years. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin planning for your future!