The effects of divorce on children are widely studied and documented, but it’s hard to grasp until you’ve gone through it, as a parent or even as a child of divorce. A critical first step to helping your children understand what’s happening is learning how to communicate with them about it effectively. Here are some ideas that may be helpful.
Come Up with a Plan
Having a plan is essential when it comes to difficult news and challenging conversations. When and how you tell them will impact how they receive the message. Set aside a time for that conversation when nothing else is going on, and there are no distractions.
Work as a Team
No matter how amicable or contentious your divorce, set it all aside for this important conversation. Show up as a united front without blame, judgment, or arguing. Working as a team will help your children feel safe, secure, and cared for by both of you.
Don’t Leave them Wondering
Your children typically live in the home with you and many times know when things are not great or there is conflict between the parents. When talking to kids about divorce, treat your children with respect. Sometimes honesty is the best policy in age-appropriate terms, but sometimes “fault-ground” reasons for the divorce should not be discussed until much later after the divorce trauma or when the children are older, if at all. Don’t forget to assure the children they are not the reason for the divorce and that both parents love them unconditionally, no matter what. Your children deserve to know why their family and their lives are about to drastically change.
Talk About the Future
One of the things kids worry about when their parents get divorced is what the future will look like. Not knowing where they’ll live, who they’ll spend time with, if they have to change schools, make new friends, be on different sports teams, or give up their pets are all things that scare children about divorce. Talk to them about the future, even if you’re not sure yourselves. Reassure them. Helping them feel secure is the goal.
Navigating a divorce, even in the best circumstances, is challenging. Having a reliable attorney in your corner is one way to ease the stress and vicissitudes of divorce. Contact the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC for compassionate and experienced divorce representation.