Without a doubt, telling your children about you and your spouse's decision to divorce is one of the most difficult conversations you will ever have in your life. This is true even if the announcement won't prove to be a major surprise. For example, you and your spouse may already be separated. However, most children want their family to remain together. While there is no easy way to have this conversation, here are a few tips that should help you.
Have the conversation as a family
It is important that you have the conversation about the pending divorce as a family. Doing this will help show your children that the end of your marriage does not mean the end of your involvement in their lives. Both parents should present a united front as best as possible, even if you two don't agree on certain issues. Be sure to use the word "we," rather than "I," when discussing the decisions that have already been made. Be sure not to make accusations or show any bitterness. The emotional wellbeing of your children should be the top priority.
Have separate conversations if needed
As stated above, it is important that you address the whole family about the divorce. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to have separate conversations with every child as a follow-up. For example, if your teenager is taking the news of divorce especially hard, don't be afraid to have a follow-up conversation. Also, if you deem it necessary, you can have individual conversations with your children before addressing the divorce as a family. For example, if you believe your teenager may have a reaction to the news that will upset the younger children, both parents should talk to the teenage child beforehand.
Plan what you will say
A discussion about divorce is the last conversation that you want to improvise. Therefore, you and the other parent should plan what to say. To start preparing for the conversation, both parents should come up with key messages together. That way, the conversation will seem more organized rather than jumbled. For example, a good key message for your children to hear is that you love them and that this love will never cease. Another key message that you may want to get across is that the divorce is in no way their fault.
Telling your children about a divorce is never an easy task. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to ensure the conversation goes as smoothly as possible. For more advice about the divorce process, don't hesitate to contact our attorneys at Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.