Turning Difficult News into a Productive Discussion
Breaking the news of your divorce to your children will not be easy. Still, there are ways in which you can make the conversation more productive. Take the time to understand the process from your child’s perspective so that you can offer them the support that they need.
Your children will likely have questions about the divorce and what it means for them. You should be prepared to tell them how long the process might take, what immediate changes are happening, and, most importantly, reassure them that the divorce is not their fault.
While it’s important to communicate the facts of the situation, avoid any speculation or promises that you cannot keep. Don’t promise that they’ll stay in their childhood home, or tell them who is likely to receive primary custody, because you do not have those answers yet. Instead, communicate the process with them and let them know that these matters are still being decided and will be made in a way which protects their best interests.
Listen to Your Child’s Concerns
Perhaps even more important than talking to your kid is listening to them. Offer them a safe environment to open up about their feelings, their fears, and their concerns. Reassure them that they can come to you at any point throughout the divorce with any questions that cross their mind.
Avoid Criticizing Your Spouse
Do not trap your kid in the middle of your divorce. If you talk negatively about your spouse or unearth the intimate details of your breakup in front of your child, they will feel as though they have to take sides. They’ll likely be more stressed and confused as a result.
While it’s healthy to talk through your emotions, make sure that you have these discussions with someone other than your child. Turn to a trusted friend or family member who you can chat with outside of earshot of your children.
Get Support When Needed
Your child’s life will be shaken by the news. Understand that the emotional help they need may be greater than what you can provide. Be willing to schedule an appointment for your child to meet with a counselor or therapist so that they may talk to a neutral party who can offer effective coping strategies and exercises to work through their emotions.
Take Care of Yourself
Before you can be a stable support system for your children, you need to address your feelings and fulfill your needs. Make time to focus on your healing so that you can effectively help your kids do the same.
If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, contact Empire Law. We’ll work to secure the ideal outcome for you and your children. Get in touch with us today to get started.