When you’re going to divorce, you already know what that means, in general, for your future. You know that you won’t be with your spouse anymore, and you won’t have a romantic relationship.
Since you have children, you will need to communicate and stay in touch. You’ll see each other. These are all facts.
Your children may not understand what divorce means as well as you do, which is why the first thing you should do prior to starting the divorce process is sitting down to explain divorce to your kids.
Talking to your children: How to approach divorce
The first thing you need to do is to think about what would be an age-appropriate way to discuss divorce with your children. You may decide that your child is too young to understand the more detailed aspects of your divorce, but you could explain that while you and your ex will be living separately, you will both still be involved in your child’s life. An older child may ask for more information or need reassurance that you and their other parent still love them.
Keep in mind that many children don’t have the experience or maturity to understand exactly what a divorce is, even though they may have friends who have divorced parents. Don’t think that because another family has been through divorce that your children don’t need an explanation.
How can you talk to your kids about the divorce?
To talk to your children, one good idea is to have everyone sit down together, including you and your ex if possible, to discuss what the divorce means. Will you be moving? What kind of custody schedule have you settled on? What questions do your children have?
Address all of the concerns during a family meeting. Then, try to have additional discussions as needed to resolve your children’s concerns. Try to stay calm, and keep in mind that any changes in your children’s behaviors are likely temporary as they adjust to their new normal.
Make talking to your children about divorce a priority. They deserve to understand what’s happening now and in the future.