Divorce is always difficult. But once you decide to get divorced, you have to plan how to break the news to your kids. Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you tiptoe through this minefield.
Even if you can’t stand your mate any longer, you need get together and start planning. Figure out exactly what you will tell the kids – and make sure you don’t place blame. This final act of teamwork is very important; you can do it.
Set a Date
Both parents and all the kids need to be present when the news is broken. It’s best to give about one day’s notice, so that everyone can prepare for the discussion without having to be secretive for an unreasonable amount of time.
Let the kids ask questions and make the answers as honest as possible, depending on their ages. You don’t have to go into the sordid details, but you owe your kids the act of listening and responding in a mature manner. Sadness, anger, and tears from the kids are to be expected at this point.
For kids, divorce brings an unknown into the equation – and kids don’t handle unknowns well. For that reason, it’s best to give a detailed look into the future. Discuss where everyone will live, visitation arrangements, school changes, schedules, and vacations.
The following days and weeks after telling your kids about the divorce will be rocky. As a parent, you need to watch for warning signs that your child isn’t handling the news well. If your instincts tell you that something is amiss, contact a professional therapist as soon as possible.