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Helping Your Children Cope With Your Divorce Starts With the Way You Tell Them About it

If you are getting divorced and have children, you need to put aside your own stress about the divorce and help your children to cope with the drastic and stressful changes in their lives. Telling your children about your divorce could be one of the most painful aspects of your breakup, and something your children will remember for the rest of their lives. So you and your spouse want to do everything you can to do it right. You will then need to follow up by helping them cope as they go through the changes caused by your divorce.

The Best Way to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

You and your spouse need to be careful about how you approach this subject with your children. You should both remember that you will be co-parenting them for a long time and attending many shared events like recitals, sports events, graduations, and weddings. You want these times to remain special for your children. You and your spouse do not want to blame or criticize each other when you discuss your divorce with your children. Here are some good ways to handle this difficult conversation:

  • You and your spouse may want to consult with a family therapist or social worker for advice on how to discuss this with your children before having the conversation with them.
  • Work with your spouse to write out a script for telling your children. This is a very important step.
  • Pick a time and a place that is safe and private to tell your kids. Avoid planning it around special events, like holidays or birthdays.
  • Focus on the positive and reassure your children that they have two loving parents who want to spend time with them.
  • Discuss the ways life will stay the same. Some of the stress for your children can be in the disruption of their schedules.
  • Reassure your children that they are not at fault in causing your divorce. This can be a serious worry for them, so it is important that you assure them that they are not to blame.
  • Do not blame each other for the divorce. Present your divorce as a joint decision whether it is true or not.
  • Expect your children to cry or show other signs of sadness and support them in expressing their feelings. Get them professional help if you think they need it.
  • Expect that your children will have questions later on and answer them as honestly as you can without blaming your spouse.
  • Try to stay at home with your children and your spouse on the day you tell your children about your divorce. It can ease the stress for them.

10 Tips for Helping Your Children Cope With Your Divorce

You may not realize how much control you have as a parent over how your divorce will affect your children. While you cannot take away all the pain, anger, and anxiety they may feel, you can help minimize the trauma and make the process easier for them. Ways to do this include:

  1. Make sure your kids know the divorce is not their fault.

  2. Do not bad mouth your spouse.

  3. Do not use your children as a messenger with your spouse to take care of business like finding out why child support is late or to change a visitation schedule.

  4. Try to minimize the changes for your child by keeping him in his same school, home, and routines as much as possible.

  5. Do not argue with your spouse in places where your children can hear you. Limiting the amount of conflict your kids witness right before and after the divorce can help them adjust successfully.

  6. Use consistent discipline and establish the same routines as much as possible, like how much TV can be watched, bedtimes, and what language is allowed.

  7. Do not use your child as a weapon with your spouse or prohibit him from seeing your child to punish him for something he is doing wrong in your divorce. Your child needs quality time with both of his parents.

  8. Do not use your child to spy on your spouse. Let him take the lead on how much information he shares with you regarding his time with your spouse.

  9. Do not ask your child to take sides in a fight you are having with your spouse. It is important to keep him completely out of the argument to not make him feel conflicted or guilty about his feelings for either of you.

  10. Be available to listen to your child when he wants to express anger, anxiety, or other feelings about your divorce or has questions.

Getting a divorce is never easy on a family, but you want to do what you can to help your children through this traumatic time. Our experienced legal team understands the stress your divorce places on your family and is here to help ease the process for you. Start an online chat today to schedule a free consultation.

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