It goes without saying that divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful events that can happen in an adult’s life. For children, divorce can be a much more confusing, emotional and uncertain time.
So having a strategy for how to tell your children that you and your spouse are divorcing is very important, as well as how to guide them through the divorce process without being emotionally damaged in the process.
What is most important for the sake of your children is to avoid conflict with your spouse as much as possible, particularly in front of them. The more that you and your spouse can communicate and act objectively with regard to parenting and co-parenitng for the sake of your children, the better, even if you are experiencing emotional pain and anger yourself.
A divorcing parent must make every effort to support their children through the divorce even if they struggle to do so because they do not really know how to do so. The key to this whole process is for your children to know that despite the pending divorce, they are not at fault and they are loved. Where children of divorce often start having problems at school, with drug and alcohol abuse, and have behavioral problems is when the parents are fighting, do not work together, and put the children in the middle of their disputes.
Here are a few tips in how to tell your children that you and your spouse are going to divorce and how otherwise to discuss the divorce:
- Sit Down Together With Your Spouse
When the time comes to tell your children that divorce is going to happen, you should not be doing so without your spouse there with you. Your children will feel better having you both together in that setting, and you and your spouse will be a united front. Each spouse will also know exactly what was said and not have to wonder. That will instill more trust in your children and your spouse will also trust you more as a result.
- Honesty Is Necessary
You do not have to get down to the “nitty gritty” details of what led to the divorce, but giving honest yet simple responses to their questions will go a long way in helping deal with their understanding of the situation. Honesty will also help with trust.
- Avoid The Blame Game
Do not be critical of your spouse when speaking with them at the beginning of or at any point during the divorce. That will not accomplish anything other than insecurity in your children. Perhaps your marriage did not work out, but that does not mean that you and your spouse do not still have a responsibility to act maturely and as a co-parenting team for the sake of your children. Today’s children are very smart and intuitive and they know more than you think they do. So do the right thing for them and make sure that they feel like you are taking their best interests to heart.
- Listen to Your Children
Much more than half of effective communications is listening to what the other party is saying. Communicating with your children is no different. Really listen and consider the concerns expressed by your children and do not take what they say lightly. They may be young, but their feelings and concerns about the divorce have as much validity as yours.
Following these simple tips will help reduce the level of stress associated with the divorce on your children. Be proud of how you handled your divorce!
For further information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce attorney Gerald Maggio of The Maggio Law Firm, please call (949) 553-0304 or visit www.maggiolawfirm.com. The Maggio Law Firm is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law firm serving the Orange County and Riverside areas and neighboring counties, serving clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, prenuptial agreements, divorce mediation, and other family law issues.