All areas of divorce are difficult: The decision-making, the legal process, and adjusting to a new lifestyle. For couples without children, divorce is a life change that happens on an individual level. However, once children are involved, the ending of a marriage involves your own healing as well as your children’s emotions about the decision. Telling your children about the split is half the battle.
What Do I Say (and Not Say)?
The way you present the news is almost as important as what you say. The following tips provide help on what you should say to your children when having the difficult conversation and how you should say it.
Act as a United Front: While it is no secret that you are no longer on the same page with your relationship, your parenting should remain collaborative. Planning the conversation ahead of time is a good way to try and keep things on track. This can be a good way to try and keep your emotions in check before speaking with your children. A child’s worst fear is losing a parent in divorce and having their life alter completely. You want to present the information together to show your child that although your marriage may be coming to an end, your family will remain intact, even if it is changing.
Tell the Truth: At the end of the day, your child is going to be wondering “why?” Some children may already have an understanding of why the marriage is ending, especially if your relationship has been on the decline for a while. However, young children often do not understand how or why the marriage is ending. It is important to provide your children with truthful information while avoiding sharing too much. Parts of your relationship should remain private but giving an explanation such as “we don’t get along anymore” can give your child closure.
Keep Things Civil: Some parents fall into the trap of throwing their spouse under the bus. As emotions heighten during the conversation, they can begin to blame their ex for the end of the marriage. This is one of the most important things to remember about divorce: Your children should not be involved in your squabbles. You and your spouse’s conflicts should not affect their relationship with their child.
Tell Them “I Love You”: Reassuring your child that nothing has changed in regards for your love for them may seem unnecessary but it can be the most important thing said. Many children see your ending marriage as losing you as a parent, even though this is not the case. Reminding your child that this is not the case is crucial.
Contact an Elmhurst Divorce Attorney for Help
Personal stress is inevitable when it comes to divorce, especially if children are involved. The legal portion of divorce should be taken care of by a professional in order to allow you to focus on your children’s wellbeing and your own. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we have experience with all forms of divorce, no matter how amicable or contentious the spouses’ relationship is. If you are looking for legal assistance with your divorce, contact our DuPage County divorce lawyers at 312-605-4041to schedule a consultation.