When two people decide to divorce it can be an emotional time, filled with a lot of uncertainty. Whilst the tell-tale signs might have been there for your children to pick up on, it is very important that both parents are united when they break the news to their children.
Most children of school age will understand what divorce is. It is important to be honest and upfront with how it will affect them and their lives moving forward, whilst providing reassurance and love as you discuss it.
There’s no perfect way to tell your children that you are divorcing, but we do have a few suggestions to make the process go a little more smoothly.
Be Certain of Your Decision
Before telling your child or children about your decision to divorce, be sure that you and your partner are ready to make it official. Mixed messages can lead to a lot of uncertainty and ultimately leave your child feeling vulnerable.
There is never a good time to tell your children that you are divorcing, but some times are better than others. Be mindful of other events in their lives – school assessments, ballet exams or the soccer grand final – and have the discussion with them at a time when they have little else going on. This will give your children the time they need to digest the information and ask any questions they may have. Make sure you also have this discussion when you are able to give them all of your time, as you will need to be available to answer their questions and reassure them that everything is going to be alright.
Remember – while the divorce may have been a long time coming for you, it will likely come as a big shock to your children. Don’t expect them to be okay straight away – this is quite the bombshell you’re dropping. Children are resilient by nature, but you need to handle the situation carefully.
Tell Them Together
Both parents breaking the news to the children will result in less confusion. Presenting as a strong, united front will also help to reassure the children that although this is a difficult time, everything will be okay.
Keep It Very Simple
Keep to the facts, and don’t over complicate the discussion. Answer any questions your children have, but try and keep it simple. Often, children are looking to both parents for reassurance that they will still be there for them, no matter what. Life is about to change, but that doesn’t mean they are losing a parent or are any less loved. Make sure they understand this.
If you and your ex partner had been arguing for some time before deciding to divorce, acknowledge this and point out the benefits for all involved of you and your ex living separately.
Don’t Play Dirty
Your children don’t need to know the ins and outs of the breakdown of the relationship or who is to blame. It doesn’t matter how hurt you are, your children have a right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and keeping this as amicable as possible is important for the children’s well being.
Moving forward is made a lot easier by talking to the caring team at Collective Family Law Group on the Gold Coast & Brisbane. We are a family law firm that provides comprehensive advice with clarity and compassion. Book your FREE initial appointment with us today on 07 5574 0971