If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, one of the most difficult things you’ll face is telling your children. However, while it will be difficult, you need to make sure that you’re the ones to tell them. It’s also a chance to let your children know that they are loved and that you’ll be there for them, no matter what. Of course, before telling your kids, be sure that the divorce is going to happen. When you’re sure you’re splitting up, here’s a look at some helpful tips you can use for this tough conversation.
Tip #1 – Tell Your Children Together
First, make sure you tell your children that you are splitting up together. You both need to sit down with your kids for his conversation, even if the divorce wasn’t a joint decision. You need to have a united front when talking to your kids. Remember, this isn’t about you and your ex – it’s all about your children. Your children need to see that you can still work together to be good parents to them.
Tip #2 – Avoid Sharing Too Much Information
Your children don’t need to hear any adult details, so avoid sharing too much information with your children. Simply tell them what they must know in a manner that is sincere and honest. Stick to the basics for the best results and avoid badmouthing each other in front of the kids.
Tip #3 – Never Place Blame
As you tell your children about the split, you already know all the reasons that you’re separating. However, both parents probably have very different ideas on why the divorce is taking place. This is not the time to start placing blame on each other. Even if you think your ex is to blame, you should never say this to your children. You never want children to have a reason to feel like they have to choose sides. Use language that is neutral and productive when discussing this with your children.
Tip #4 – Offer Details on Upcoming Changes
Your children will realize that your split is going to cause some changes, so make sure that you offer details on the upcoming changes. Your kids may want to know how their lives will change, such as with whom they’ll live and where they will live. Give them the information you can and be honest if you’re unsure about changes that will take place in the future.
Tip #5 – Make Sure Children Know They’re Loved Unconditionally
Take the time to make sure that your children know both parents love them unconditionally. Kids need a lot of reassurance that they are still going to be loved. Make sure that both of you take the time to tell them how much you love them, and let them know that your love for them is not going to change in the future.
Tip #6 – Reassure Children It’s Not Their Fault
Reassure your children that it’s not their fault that you are splitting up. You never want your children to think that they are the ones to blame, and in many cases, children feel this way. Have an external reason for the split that you can give your children. This way they realize that they are not responsible for what is going on between the two of you.
Tip #7 – Let Your Kids Ask Questions
Allow your children to ask questions about what is going on. Even if your children don’t ask questions right away, they’ll probably end up having questions in the future. Make sure that you and your ex talk about how to answer their questions so you can give a unified answer to your children.
Tip #8 – Choose the Right Timing
It’s essential to choose the right timing for this tough conversation. Avoid telling kids around a major life event, before a big test, around Christmas, or around their birthday. Your children are going to remember this day, so avoid having the conversation around positive days or events to avoid causing bad memories.
Tip #9 – Make Sure You’re Both Calm
Since your kids will be watching you carefully, you both need to stay calm when you are delivering this news to your children. If you are not calm, they will sense it. While it’s fine to grieve what is going on, your anxiety or anger can rub off on your children. Take a deep breath and try to remain calm for this conversation.
Tip #10 – Be Ready for Their Reaction
There’s a good chance that the split will be very unexpected to your children, and it’s something that will completely change their lives. Be ready for their reaction, and be understanding to the reactions that occur. Some children may get angry, others may cry, while others may be quiet. Be prepared for these emotions before you start the conversation.