Having the dreaded divorce talk with your children: Part I

In previous posts, we have discussed the idea that how parents communicate with their children is a major factor in how well the children are able to cope with divorce and a new co-parenting arrangement. Because such changes are scary and difficult for kids, it’s particularly important for parents to show stability and love as often as possible.

But what do you say to your kids when you have to break the news of separation or divorce? When is the right time and what are the right circumstances? What will they say in return? In this week’s posts, we’ll address some of these common questions.

In the business world, they say the best time to tell your boss about a problem is when you can immediately follow it with the proposed solution. Breaking the news of divorce works much the same way. If possible, you should tell your kids about the divorce after you and your spouse have worked out many of the details. You should at least be able to tell your kids what they can expect during the next phase of the divorce process.

Children seek stability and predictability. If you already have a plan in place, it will be far easier for your kids to cope with the news that their family is about to go through a major change.

When and how should you break the news? When possible, it’s best to do this with your co-parent to show that you made the decision together. You should also plan to tell them at a time that allows both parents and children to be around one another for the next 48 hours or more. They will likely have many questions and may need a lot of reassurance.

And because this is a talk that they will almost certainly remember forever (not in a fond way), it’s a good idea to make sure that it doesn’t occur over a holiday, a birthday or any other annual celebration. No one wants their child to grow up associating Thanksgiving dinner with divorce.

Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.

Source: The Huffington Post, “How To Divorce: 5 Best Practices For Telling The Kids You’re Separating,” Alyson Schafer, May 6, 2015

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