Going through a divorce is never easy, and when you have kids together it makes it that much harder. Here are some tips for breaking the news to them…
Breaking the news of your divorce is something your children will remember for the rest of their lives, so you need to make sure you get it right. That means sitting down and discussing it with your kids before you go to an accredited family law firm to file for divorce or look to get a quick online divorce.
But how exactly do you go about it? In this post, we’re going to share 8 of the most important tips you need to break the news of your divorce to your children.
How to Break the News of Divorce to Your Children
Breaking this news is not going to be easy, but you can make it easier by doing it the right way. Here are some tips on how to do that:
1. Prepare for the conversation beforehand
Before you go into a conversation with your kids about your divorce, you need to make sure you know what you’re going to say. It’s very easy to put your foot in your mouth and say something that might unduly upset them if you haven’t planned for it.
Think about the most important things they need to know. For example, who they’re going to be living with, where the parent who’s moving out is going to stay, how often they’ll see them, etc. Try to envision any possible questions they might ask and come up with the best answers prior to the big conversation.
2. Choose your timing wisely
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t tell the children about your divorce until you’ve made a definite decision on how the separation will work. This includes who gets to live with the kids and how often the vacating parent will see them.
However, it’s also important to make sure you tell them at the right time. Don’t tell them when they’re stressed about an exam or other life event, and don’t tell them when you’re in a rush to be somewhere anytime soon. Instead, try doing it on a Friday, perhaps, when they have the whole weekend to spend with you and can raise any further questions they have.
3. Tell them all at the same time
Whilst you’re deciding when to tell them, you should also make sure to do it at a time where everyone is together. If you tell one child before the other there’s a risk of them breaking the news before you get chance, ruining all your planning.
It’s understandable that you might want to break the news to an older child first so you can explain it in a more complex way. But, to avoid the risk of them sharing the news, do it at the same time and have a separate conversation with the elder child later if you wish.
4. Break it to them as a united front
When you do sit down to plan the conversation, and eventually have it, you need to make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
You don’t want to be giving your kids conflicting information that will muddle the whole separation process in their head. You need to have the same answers to their questions, and you need to work together to console them when they get upset.
If they see you working well together in this moment, they’ll feel much more confident that the separation plan you’re discussing with them will play out the way you say it will.
5. Remind them of the constants
With divorce, there are things that are certain and things that aren’t. So, to avoid your children focusing on the uncertainties, you need to stress the constants. These might include:
- Mum will still be there to tuck them in at night
- Dad will still turn up to all their plays and sports games
- They’ll still see you both at Christmas and on their birthdays
Anything that you know for sure won’t be changing needs to be relayed to the children so they can feel a certain level of stability going into the future.
6. Discuss the benefits
This might sound strange, considering how devastating divorce can be for families. But, there are some benefits to having separated parents that you can get your children to focus on. Some could include:
- They have two houses which means two bedrooms.
- They get to have twice as many holidays, one with each parent.
- They get the undivided attention of each parent when they’re with them.
- There won’t be as much arguing anymore.
Whatever potential benefits you can think of have the chance to take some of the edge off breaking the news of your divorce.
7. Offer frequent reassurance
It’s very unlikely that you’ll plan this whole conversation out perfectly, answer every question your children have, and leave them walking away with a smile.
Breaking this news is just the first step, and your children will have more questions to ask in the future. Reassuring them after the fact, whenever you notice they’re feeling down or just when it crosses your mind, is the long-term tactic that will ultimately get them through this divorce.
8. Have someone else in your family talk to them
Most children have a favourite cousin, auntie, uncle or grandparent they like to talk to more than anyone else in the family.
Think about who this person is and have them speak to your child a few times to help reassure them that everything will be alright. This is particularly helpful if you’re struggling to get your child to open up to you, as they’re much more likely to do it for this person.
Ready to Break the News of Divorce to Your Children?
In this post, we’ve shared our top tips on explaining your divorce to your children to help make the process easier for everyone involved.
There are more tips out there, but the general thread that runs through them all is that you need to be prepared, use all the tools at your disposal, and do everything you can to reassure your children that life after this divorce will be fine. Good luck!
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained divorce professional. Be sure to consult a divorce professional or solicitor if you’re seeking advice about your divorce. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.