Making the call to end a marriage is not easy, even when the relationship is rocky. With children in the mix, you may not know how to tell them that you have made this life-changing decision.
While you may not like it, you should talk to your kids about the divorce. Failing to do so may result in animosity and hurt feelings once the process gets into full swing.
Make it age-appropriate
The way you break the news to older kids will differ greatly from telling younger ones. Older children may not appear surprised since they are likely to have observed any discord between you and your spouse. With younger children, keeping things simple and short may work out more favorably. Since they may process the news slower, prepare yourself for follow-up discussions. Look for behavioral changes as children do process the news. Younger children may go through a shift in temperament as they try to work out what the divorce may mean.
Keep an open dialogue
Regardless of your children’s ages, they will likely have questions, fears and doubts as the divorce continues. One of their greatest fears may revolve around how often they will see the other parent. Both parents must remain present and involved, especially during the separation stage. While it may feel impossible to remain cordial in the face of conflict, the more both parents remain present in the children’s lives, the more readily the children may accept the divorce.
Helping your children cope in the face of divorce comes down to preparation, honesty and temperament. Even if you are ready for more distance between you and your spouse, your children may rail against it.