Children often like sameness and emotional stability. Unfortunately, divorce can disrupt these desires to their core. While each child is unique and can have very different reactions, it’s crucial to approach this sensitive discussion in a way that puts them at ease.
It’s all about the delivery
What makes divorce so hard for kids is that they don’t always know what’s happening or why it’s happening.
Parents need to tell them in a way they understand and act as a unit when they do. It’s important to remember this moment isn’t about them, it’s about their children.
How to break the news
These are a few things to consider:
- Leave out the details: Marriages can fizzle out for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s infidelity, money problems or just general dissatisfaction, most kids don’t need to know about these issues, especially when it involves their parents.
- Avoid placing blame on one another: Many kids like to think their parents are an unstoppable team. However, it’s never an easy role. But no matter what caused the marital downfall, it’s important to avoid placing blame. The last thing any parent wants is their child to turn against them due to badmouthing.
- “It’s not your fault”: In some cases, children may see themselves as the reason their parents are divorced. If they start saying things like this, it’s essential to tell them it’s not their fault. Parents may also want to highlight that the divorce may make everyone happier down the road, even though it’s hard right now.
- Find an appropriate time: Parents may decide to divorce well before they tell the kids. But even then, they should do it at a time that’s suitable for everyone. For instance, if the parents’ divorce before the holidays, they may want to wait until afterward to tell the kids so they can enjoy family togetherness one last time.
Keeping the children’s best interests in mind
Divorce can be hard on everyone involved, but especially the kids. When addressing these issues with the kids, it’s important to keep their interests in mind. By letting kids give their opinions on what works for them, they can have an easier time dealing with the transition.