Breaking the news of your divorce to your kids can be difficult to think about. After all, when it comes to the end of a marriage, most parents in Sacramento want to preserve their relationship with their child and move forward through the divorce process on track to establish a new normal for themselves and their children. The following are some tips for parents who need to break the divorce to their children.
Wait for the right time
If you are still deciding whether or not to separate, you may want to wait until a more definitive decision to separate has been made to let your kids know about the divorce. In addition, the actual situation should happen soon after you let your kids know about your divorce. This avoids lengthy periods of stress and uncertainty in the life of your child.
However, you should avoid having one parents break the news and the other parent picks up and leaves the next day. Both parents should break the news together and ensure their child has the time necessary to process this information before transitioning to the new way of life post-divorce. One expert says one or two weeks should be sufficient.
Be united in your decision to separate
Before parents break the news of their divorce, they should plan what they want to say, and both should break the news of the divorce together. Not only does this set the stage for effective co-parenting in the future. Even if parents hold some animosity toward one another, they should avoid focusing on who did what to cause the divorce. Speaking in the “we” can help children understand that they will still have a family post-divorce, it will just look different than it did when their parents were married. In addition, parents should avoid forcing their child to pick a side.
Do not over-explain things
While the first conversation about the divorce should be done with all your children present, parents will want to think about what information to disclose to each child in follow-up conversations. Toddlers and preschoolers do not need much information apart that they will have two homes now, that they did not cause this and that they are loved by both parents. Older children and teenagers may have more questions and may need more details, but there should still be boundaries. You do not necessarily to explain why you are divorcing, other than that you are no longer happy living together. However, parents should still emphasize that the child is not to blame, and that the child will always be loved by both parents. Make sure your older children know what will change in their lives, and what will not.