Helping Kids Through a Divorce
Divorce is an emotional time no matter the circumstances, but when kids are involved, it’s usually a lot more difficult. Maybe you and your spouse tried to make it work for the kids’ sake, but you’ve finally decided it’s in everyone’s best interests to go your separate ways. Now you must figure out how to break the news to the kids.
Helping kids through a divorce is tough, but it’s not impossible.
Breaking the News
There’s no getting around it—this will be one of the hardest conversations you’ll ever have. Still, like all scary things, if you practice beforehand, you will feel a lot better and more equipped to answer your children’s questions. The following are some things to keep in mind when breaking the news:
- Be clear that you and your spouse have decided to live apart.
- Explain that it’s not the child’s fault, and reiterate this many times.
- Tell your child that parents can’t divorce their kids and that both parents will still be in the child’s life.
- Don’t blame each other for the divorce during this conversation, opting instead to say things like, “Mommy and Daddy can’t seem to agree anymore.”
- Make sure the discussion fits the age and maturity level of your child.
Minimize the Negative Impact
You can do many things to help your child get through a divorce with the most positive outcome possible. The most important thing is to make sure your child doesn’t feel responsible for the divorce. Here are a few other musts if you want to minimize the effects of divorce on your child’s happiness:
- Don’t fight or discuss the legal aspects of your divorce around the child. Ever.
- Keep the child’s daily routine as stable as possible.
- If you can manage it, keep both parents actively involved in the child’s life.
- Let your child know that sad feelings are OK. He or she doesn’t have to put on a brave face.
- Make sure your child knows you will always be there for him or her.
Be Prepared to Answer Some Questions
It’s only natural that your child will have a lot of questions. Some of these questions will not be easy to answer, and you should think carefully before you do. You don’t want to lie, but you also don’t want to start blaming the other spouse for the divorce or telling your child things that aren’t age-appropriate.
For example, if your child asks why you are getting a divorce, don’t say it’s your spouse’s fault. Simply say that the two of you weren’t able to get along. Here are some of the questions you should be ready to answer:
- Are we moving?
- Where will I live?
- Am I still going to the same school?
- Is it something I did?
- Can I still see my friends?
- Will I still get to see you?
- Where will I go for holidays?
Work with a Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Attorney
Helping kids through a divorce will be difficult—there’s no denying that. But it can be made easier by preparing for it beforehand and putting your child’s feelings first. If you are going through a divorce, you may want to consult with a family lawyer who can help ensure your interests are looked after and answer family legal questions.