Talk to Your Children about Your Divorce the Right Way
1. Only have this conversation if you’re certain the marriage is over.
You may feel like you want to keep your children informed and included on what’s going to happen in the household, and you may feel an urge to tell your children that you and your spouse are getting divorced as soon as you’ve begun to discuss the issue with your spouse. However, many couples reconsider divorce one or more times before they conclude that it’s the right decision for them, deciding instead to seek counseling or take other steps to repair the relationship. Make sure not to tell your kids that a divorce is coming before you’re absolutely sure that it is.
2. Write down your thoughts.
If at all possible, sit down with your spouse to write out how you would like the conversation with your children to go. Having written notes will help you stay on track and avoid pointing blame at the other parent or getting into a fight. Even if you write out what you’d like to say alone, be sure that your spouse is involved in the conversation itself. News of a divorce should always come from both parents, so that both have an opportunity to reaffirm their love for their child and the fact that they will continue to be a large presence in their child’s life.
3. Choose a good time for the talk.
Find a time to discuss your divorce when your children aren’t on their way to school or heading to bed soon afterward. Allow your children several waking hours to process the conversation where they won’t need to be listening to a teacher or even socializing with friends. That said, while a holiday break might seem like a good time to share this news, try to stay away from telling them on the holiday itself, as this can taint the day for your children for years to come.
4. Consider in advance how you’ll answer tough questions.
Children, especially when young, will be very worried about how a divorce will affect their routine. Will they need to spend half the week in a different house? Will they need to switch schools? Where will they spend the holidays? While you might not have firm answers to these questions, have some idea of how you’ll handle these issues in the immediate future, so that you don’t feel the need to make decisions about these questions on the spot. Older children may want to know why you and your spouse are ending your relationship. Don’t burden your children with too much information about the causes for the split, and don’t speak ill of the other parent. Your children should feel as though they can turn to you for comfort over the breakup, rather than the other way around.
If you are considering divorce in Texas, seek legal help from someone who will handle your divorce with dedication and an eye toward a peaceful resolution by contacting the Houston offices of divorce lawyer Maria Lowry at 713-850-8859.