The decision to file for divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of someone’s life. If a couple has children together, breaking the news to them can be just as heartbreaking. Many spouses who are unhappy stay together just for the sake of their kids. However, remaining in the relationship can do more harm than good. It is important to be honest and open with your children about your marriage ending so they are not blindsided if one parent suddenly moves out of the house. Following are some practical tips for helping you and your children during this major life transition.
Preparation and Delivery Are Important
It is crucial that you do not tell your children that you and their other parent are getting a divorce until you are absolutely sure that is what you are going to do. The news that their family unit as they have known it is splitting up can be devastating to kids. It is critical that you make it clear to them that this is not their fault; it is a breakdown of the relationship between you and your spouse. The conversation is not going to be easy, but the manner in which you deliver the news can make a difference in your kids’ reactions and set the tone for moving forward.
Here are a few ways that parents can alleviate the stress of an impending divorce on their children:
- Pick an appropriate time and place - Do not have the divorce talk right before your children have a major event, such as a test, a musical performance, or a sports tryout. Arranging a support system of other family members they can talk to might be helpful. Selectively tell their teachers, coaches, or any other adults who play a pivotal role in their life. In addition, neutral parties such as psychological experts can help later if the kids need an outlet for their feelings.
- Keep it as simple as possible - Your children do not need to know the gritty details of why you are breaking up. Although infidelity may have been involved, for example, keep that between you and your spouse, as it will only cause the children to feel more anxiety.
- Stay calm - Be prepared for an emotional discussion. Depending on your children’s ages, they may cry, yell, scream, and even throw things out of frustration. Although your first instinct may be to raise your voice or shed a tear, try to be patient and speak in a steady tone to reassure them that everything is going to be fine.
- Do not place blame - Even if the divorce was one-sided, do not make your spouse out to be the bad guy (or girl). Otherwise, your kids will feel like they have to choose sides, and that can make them very anxious and produce feelings of guilt.
- Prepare them for the future - Your living situation (along with your children’s) may change depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities. Talk about the possibility of moving but reassure your children that you and your spouse both still love them and will always be there for them.
Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney
Dissolving a marriage involves more than just signing a few papers. The accomplished legal team at Weiler & Lengle P.C. will help you navigate the emotional and legal steps in finalizing your divorce. Our dedicated Kane County parenting time lawyers know how challenging the end of a marriage can be on all family members. We will work hard to protect your rights and keep your children’s best interests in mind. Call us today at 630-382-8050 to schedule your confidential consultation.