As a parent, you want to do everything you can to care for and protect your children. But, if you and your partner have decided that your relationship has reached an end, then you have to break the life-changing decision to them. One of your biggest concerns may be how to talk to your children about what’s happening, and how they’ll react. Will they understand what’s going on? Will they be upset? How will they adapt to the changes that will inevitably come with the separation? These are all you may be worried about so we have put together these tips to help you.
Keep it simple
You and your partner know the ‘truth’ behind your divorce but it is not age appropriate to discuss the finer details of the separation with your kids beyond acknowledging that both parents tried to work through their differences, but ultimately decided it was best to be apart.
Keep routines consistent
When everything seems to be turning upside down for your children, it is extremely important to maintain as much normalcy as possible. Parents should strive to keep their and their children’s routines the same and consistency will help children feel more stable through the transition.
Don’t make them choose
Parents shouldn’t play the blame game of why they are divorcing in front of their children. The children should not feel stuck in the middle of their parent’s divorce and they should model respectful behavior towards each other in front of their children. This shows them that each home is a safe space for them and they won’t have to choose “sides.”
Tell them together
Since divorce is a decision between both partners, it is important that both partners tell all the kids about the important decision together, like a united front. This will allow the children to feel like both parents are still connected and willing to work together to raise them.
Tell them you love them
A divorce between parents can bring forth lots of unsettling feelings in children. Although parents can’t remain the same with each other as they once were, they can definitely reassure their children about how much they still love them and continue to provide them with much-needed attention. It’s a good idea to give one-on-one time to each of the children to keep communication lines open and to provide them with extra support when needed.
Validate their feelings
Your children are entitled to feel a range of emotions when they find out about your divorce. Allow them to fully feel their emotions and listen to your children without trying to solve anything. Just empathizing with them in the moment will make them feel heard. Be consistent with affection and provide a safe space for them to share their emotions.
Keep an open dialogue
Talking about your divorce might not be a one time thing and your children will need to have frequent conversations to make sense of the divorce. They will have lots of concerns and questions so keep an open line of communication and be available for them when they are feeling low or unable to understand something related to the divorce.