While getting divorced surely feels like quite a sensitive topic, it’s important that you’re not afraid of talking about this with your children. They probably know a lot more about what’s going on, in some ways, but the better you are at communicating with them and making sure that their voices are heard, the easier it will be for them to cope with all the changes.
If you or someone you know is about to go through with a divorce, it’s a good idea to read up on how you can approach the topic with your kids. That way, the conversation will be a bit more productive and you can all emerge from this as a family even if you’re not living together.
Here is a handful of ways to help you with talking about divorce with your children and make sure that their needs are met as well.
First: Don’t underestimate the setting
First of all, you need to keep in mind that this will have an impact on your children. Learning about your parents’ divorce is a memory that is going to stay with them forever – no matter how long ago the child was told.
Give a lot of thoughts to the settings and circumstances of telling your kid about this, in other words, and ensure that you approach the topic with the knowledge of how much it might actually impact them.
It’s not to say that the memory will be traumatic or immediately life-changing, though. They will just remember it so make sure that you’re able to answer all their questions and don’t rush through it.
Next: Tell Everyone
Some parents seem to think that it’s better to tell the older kids first and shelter the youngest ones. Perhaps some of them even count on the older kids to pass the message on – which is, of course, not the best way to go about with things.
Gather everyone and tell them all at once so that no child is left in the dark and no older siblings are given the responsibility of carrying this secret.
Your child may have different reactions
Before you get started on planning out the talk, it’s good to keep in mind that there is no definite way that your child will react to this. While some children are happy that the arguments and hostility at home have finally come to an end, others will feel sad and confused – and your job is to go into this conversation with an open mind. Don’t assume that your kid will feel something particular or lean in one way or another. Every feeling and reaction is valid and you should be prepared for anything. Allow them to feel whatever they’re feeling at the moment even if it’s a bit confusing to you – and let them know that it’s alright.