It is going to be difficult to tell your kids that their parents are divorcing. How you tell them, and how you help them deal with their emotions in the aftermath of breaking the news is very important to consider.
Here are some tips on breaking the news:
Show that you are unified – if you can keep the conflict at bay, sit down together with your kids to tell them about the news as a family. Your kids should know that you are both there for them, and will continue to both be involved as their parents.
Have a clear plan as to what is going to happen – while it’s important to tell the kids as early as possible, it is best to have at least a temporary plan as to where the kids and each parent will live, where they will go to school, etc. Plan what you will say and how you will say it.
Reassure your kids that you love them – this is the big one that the kids want to know!
Do not fight in front of your kids – continuing the cycle of conflict will do more damage to your kids than the divorce itself.
Do your research – read books, meet with a mediator or collaborative lawyer, consult a psychologist. Find out the best way to support your kids as you move forward.
Be honest – never lie to your kids, but be age appropriate
Invite them to ask questions – listen to what they are telling you, either verbally or non-verbally. Recognize their cues that tell you when they are struggling to deal with the situation.
Keep your kids out of the middle – certainly the most important advice – do not use your kids as a bargaining tool by withholding parenting time, support, or talking badly about the other parent are definitely actions which will cause your children great stress through the divorce.
Tell me your story about how you told your kids and how it went. I want to hear from you. Send me an email or follow me on Twitter at @stephaniecollab and send me a tweet. Find archives of my articles on www.kindrachukdobson.com.