One of the most difficult conversations you may have with your child is telling them that their parents are getting a divorce. It’s a conversation that the child(ren) will remember for the rest of their lives. Of course, there’s no perfect way to break the news, but below some tips to lighten the pain:
- Keeping a unified front: If you and your soon-to-be ex set clear and mutually agreed upon expectations, your child(ren) is/are likely to feel more assured and less fearful. It’s best to incorporate “we” as much as possible when describing the decisions that have been made. Make sure to tell your child(ren) together and assure them that both of you will always love them, and no matter what, that will never change.
- Explain to your child(ren) what the decision to separate will look like: this includes informing them which parent will be leaving the home, when they will get to stay and see the other parent, and how their schedules and activities will change and stay the same.
- Make sure the child(ren) know(s) that they did not cause their parents to separate. The best thing to do is give your child(ren) the reason for you and your spouse separating. However, make it external to both of you.
- Plan in advance what you’re going to say. This is not the type of conversation to improvise on. Think about taking turns with your soon-to-be ex on covering important points.
- Be open to questions. It’s best to try to be as honest as possible. Your child(ren) will not process this information right away. As such, you should expect to have more conversations on the separation and divorce.