For children, watching their parents split up can be emotionally trying and confusing. You and your spouse may know that it’s for the best, and you may even be planning an amicable split, expecting to stay friends and raise the kids together even after you break off your legal marriage contract. Still, you have to remember that it may be tougher on the kids than it is on you. Below are four things you should do to help it go as smoothly for them as it will for you.
Tell All of the Kids at Once
If you have multiple children, don’t try to talk to them when you can, one-on-one, and risk one of the kids finding out about the split from a sibling – or, worse yet, from a friend. Instead, bring all of your children together and tell them at the same time. Above all else, don’t tell some children and then instruct them to keep it a secret from the others for any amount of time.
Plan Out When and Where to Tell the Kids
Your children are going to remember being told about your divorce for the rest of their lives. Try to pick a safe space to break the news. Don’t do it out of the blue, in a way that makes it more difficult. It may also not be wise to bring it up during the holidays, or your kids are going to have that memory linked to the holiday forever.
Don’t Blame Anyone
Of course, you never want to blame the kids for the split. In fact, it’s crucial that you stress exactly the opposite. Tell the children repeatedly that they didn’t make it happen, they didn’t do anything wrong, and they should never feel like it’s their fault. At the same time, don’t blame your spouse in front of them – even if you do privately. Your children have a relationship with your spouse that won’t end just because yours does.
Avoid the Details and Stick to A Simple Announcement
You don’t have to get into all of the messy details with your kids. Young children likely won’t understand them, anyway. Don’t stress them out by letting them hear you talk extensively about finances, splitting up assets, or child custody plans. Just keeps things simple. You want the kids to be informed, and you shouldn’t hide the divorce from them, but you also want to shelter them from the things they can’t control that will make it harder on them.
Getting Through Your Divorce
The key to getting through your divorce quickly – which can also help the children, since they won’t feel trapped in the process for months on end – is to know your legal options and to know your rights. Have an idea of what you want and deserve, be willing to work with your spouse when possible and willing to defend your rights when need be, and execute your plan efficiently.
Being prepared helps you wade through the details and then move on with your life, focusing on your children’s best interests and overall happiness.