Talking to Your Kids About Divorce
One of the hardest parts of getting divorced if you have children is telling your kids that their parents will no longer be together. This can cause a great deal of stress on the entire family, and it’s never an easy conversation to have.
During this challenging time, it’s important to approach the subject carefully and make sure you are doing everything you can to protect the mental and emotional health of your children.
First, consider consulting a therapist or counselor to learn more about the best ways to start the conversation. It’s usually best if you and your former spouse can do this together, creating an action plan for how you are going to discuss the matter with your kids. Once you have a plan, be sure to choose a location where your children can feel completely comfortable and designate ample time for them to ask questions.
Make it a conversation
As you are speaking with your children about your divorce, try to focus on the positive — such as the fact that they still have two parents who love them and want to spend time with them. Do not blame the other parent, and try to position the divorce as a joint decision the two of you made together. Just remember that the thought of a divorce can be very emotional for kids, but you owe it to them to be upfront and honest.
Once you have given your children the news, be sure to allow them the opportunity to ask questions. This shouldn’t be limited to the time directly after you’ve told them about the divorce — be sure to let them know that you would be happy to talk more in the hours, days and weeks to come. Keep in mind, however, that the parents should never share the legalities of the process with the children. Courts acknowledge it can be hard to keep them completely unaware of the legal discussions and decisions being made, particularly with older children. However, courts also direct parties to leave adult conversations and decisions to the adults and not involve the children with the legal process and issues.
When it comes to telling your children about an impending divorce, try not to procrastinate. Once you’ve made your decision to dissolve your marriage, it’s important to speak with your kids as soon as possible. If you would like further tips and guidance on this sensitive issue, work with a compassionate Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.