Divorce is the last thing on our minds when we get married and grow our family with kids, but it is a possibility.
And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s likely to be in the best interests of the family when parents separate or divorce. High conflict relationships can be more damaging to children in comparison to an amicable separation which sees parents committing to the care of their children with a common respect for each other.
It can be one of the most difficult conversations to have with our children, but hearing it from you and not from someone else is important to make the transition easier for them. This is a conversation children will remember, so how can we talk to our children about this explicit change in their lives?
This conversation is about supporting your children through what will no doubt be filled with rattling emotions and questions. It is not a time to showcase your own anger or sadness, so be prepared in how you will address the conversation, what you will say, and prepare answers for any questions you think they may have. Make sure you get across the key points surrounding the divorce which you want the kids to understand fully.
Present A United Front
Avoid highlighting any blame as to the reason for the separation and show a united front. Children need to feel confident that they have the love and support of both parents throughout the divorce.
Choose The Right Time
Ensure you choose a time that allows for children to be emotional, ask questions, dissect and settle with all of the information you are giving them. Try not to start the conversation before bedtime or school, and most certainly don’t blurt it out unexpectedly.
Prepare For Varied Emotions
Children may not think the way we do, and older children again can view their world through a different lens. Prepare for a variety of emotions, questions, and scenarios which may be entirely egocentric and focused on their universe. They may be angry, they may yell, they may retreat into themselves. You know your child the best. Be led by them and determine if they need you or need space to process their emotions.
Be Open To Questions
Remember that this is the first conversation in a number of chats you will have with your children about the divorce. They will have varied questions over a period of time. Encourage them to ask questions so that you can put their mind at ease and move them away from unnecessary thoughts. Keep the door open for them and be honest with them so that they feel supported and loved.