When you have to talk to your children about divorce, you want to make sure that the conversation goes well and that it addresses everything they’re concerned about. This is a major change in their life, and it’s a topic that they probably don’t have much experience with. The way that you talk to them is going to make a big difference in how they handle it.
But what should you tell them? To some degree, you do want to consider their ages. There are age-appropriate ways to talk to teenagers that would not be appropriate for elementary school children. All parents need to consider exactly what will be best for each individual child, taking their different needs into account. Below are a few more tips that can help.
Try to explain why it’s happening
It can be difficult to explain why the divorce is occurring, and you don’t need to get into details if you don’t think that they are right for your children. But it is best to give them some sort of explanation, even if it’s just as simple as saying that you’ve been trying to fix your relationship, it hasn’t worked and you think that this is the best way for you to move forward and be loving co-parents.
Tell them that it’s not their fault
One of the most important things to do is just to tell children that they didn’t cause a divorce. Many parents don’t realize just how important this is because it seems obvious to them that the children are not at fault. But, if the children do not fully understand why the divorce is occurring, due to their self-focused worldview, they often assume that they are to blame.
Remember that you’re not the only one who needs to talk
Finally, you shouldn’t just be thinking about what you need to tell the children about the divorce. You should also be thinking about answering their questions and letting them talk. If they are involved in this conversation, they’re going to feel seen and cared for, which is just as important as any answer that you give them.
As you and your spouse move toward divorce, take the time to look into all of your legal options as well.