While there are many aspects of divorce that are challenging, matters that affect your children are the most difficult. Even when divorce is in the absolute best interest of you and your family, your children are still going to experience emotional effects.
As a result, you must communicate to them in a way that mitigates these effects. Psychology Today recommends the following tips to help parents talk to their children about divorce.
Break the news as a family unit
It is natural to have animosity towards your ex during a divorce. However, you must make every attempt to address your kids as a cohesive unit. Children must understand that they will receive love from both parents in equal measure, and that divorce does not mean an end to their family. Get together with your ex before and plan what you want to say, and refrain from blaming each other.
Be forthcoming but do not overshare
Your children deserve honesty when it comes to the reasons for your divorce, but it is not necessary to share explicit details regarding your relationship. For example, if your marriage ended over infidelity, you should not reveal that to your children. Instead, explain that you are divorcing because it is the best way to ensure happiness for both you and your former spouse. Do not imply that you may get back together or that this is only a temporary situation.
Explain changes in detail
Your children will also need to know about practical changes in their daily lives, including who is leaving the family home. If they are moving, make sure they know when the move is happening, as well as where they are moving to. While this information is distressing to many children, they must know what is happening in their lives before it happens to ensure security and stability.
While kids experience a range of emotions upon learning of their parents’ separation and divorce, prolonged sadness and depression regarding the issue requires additional assistance. Reach out to a counselor or therapist if it appears your child is having trouble processing the development in a healthy manner.