Making the decision to get a divorce may rank among the most trying choices people will make during their lives. While telling their spouses may offer enough difficulty, talking to their children about their decisions may present even greater challenges and upset.
Understanding how to break the news to their children and what to expect when they do may help parents to support their kids as they traverse this difficult life experience.
Go into the talk with a plan
According to Psychology Today, parents planning to separate should have a plan before sitting down to talk to their kids about divorce. It may best serve them and their children if they think of what they plan to say ahead of time and arranging to talk to their kids when they have time to spend together. Children may also benefit from their parents breaking the news to them together as this may help reassure them that they will still come first.
Avoid playing the blame game
Children may want to know what happened and parents may want to give them reasons for the upheaval in their lives that divorce brings. However, parents should refrain from giving their kids too many or too adult explanations. Assigning blame, such as telling the kids that one parent had an affair or has decided to leave, may only serve to complicate the matter for them and cause them to feel stuck in the middle of their parents.
Validate the kids’ feelings
According to The Nemours Foundation, the children of divorcing parents may have a range of emotions when told their parents plan to separate. How they handle the news may depend on factors such as their personalities and ages, as well as how their parents address the situation and go through the process. Parents may help their children to process the news of a divorce and the pending changes to their lives by allowing them to experience their emotions and reassuring them.