For parents, one of the most stressful, complicated and emotionally charged parts of a divorce is often the conversation in which they tell their children that they have decided to divorce. It can be difficult to know how to approach this talk, and equally (if not more) challenging to help your children adjust to their new life as a child with divorced parents.
Although what works for each child varies significantly from family to family, there are a few universal guidelines of what not to do when breaking the news of your divorce to your children.
- Do not fight in front your children. If you and your spouse are able to maintain a happy parenting alliance (or at least an appearance of one), it will be much easier to co-parent after the split.
- Do not blame or speak disrespectfully about the children's other parent. When children hear one parent trash-talking the other, they internalize the insult, wondering if they are doing something wrong by loving that parent.
- Do not confide adult information to your children. The goal throughout your divorce should be to place as little of a burden on your children as possible.
- Do not pressure your children to make choices. Most importantly, do not ask them to choose between their parents. This is a no-win situation for them.
- Do not stop reminding your children that they are not to blame for the divorce. Continue to reassure them that the divorce and all of the related events are not their fault.
Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Questions: How Do I Tell My Kids We're Getting A Divorce?" Rosalind Sedacca, April 28, 2012