Going through a divorce is tough, especially when spouses share children. One of the hardest conversations a divorcing parent will have is when the time comes to break the news to their children and explain what a divorce will mean for their future as a family. This conversation should occur once you and your spouse are certain that your marriage is no longer salvageable. More importantly, it is a conversation you should, if possible, have together in order to present a unified front for your children. The two of you will no longer be together as a couple, but you will always be their parents, so try to set aside your differences for this vital conversation.
Below is a list of tips to help you navigate this emotionally challenging discussion:
- Do it together: As mentioned above, this conversation is best had with both parents. Of course, that does not mean you get to argue in front of them about who is at fault for the divorce. Try to choose a time when you are not feeling particularly combative and, while speaking to your children, remember that this is not about you, your spouse, or any transgressions. This conversation is all about your children, so keep the focus on them. It will be a great comfort to them to know that you are both still able to work together for their benefit.
- Plan it out: One of the worst things you can do is to embark on this delicate conversation without a thoughtful plan of what you would like to say. This does not mean you need to write out a script, but you should certainly have your main messages prepared. Let them know that you both still love them and that there was nothing they could have done to prevent the divorce. Your decision to split up was an adult decision that they could not have altered in any way. Oftentimes, children of divorced parents might feel guilty and believe that they were to blame for their parents’ divorce. Make it clear that this is far from the truth.
- Be ready for mixed reactions: You might think you know what to expect from your children in terms of reactions, but the fact is that you might get a strange mixed bag of reactions, so be ready for anything. Some kids might be more concerned about how a divorce will personally impact them and ask if they can still go to the same school or if they will still have the same friends. Others might be upset and throw a tantrum. However your children react, be prepared and understanding.
- Be ready to answer some questions: Your children might ask you questions right away or they might take some time to process the information you just told them before they begin asking questions. Regardless of when they choose to start asking questions, you should always be ready for it. While neither you nor your spouse should give them unnecessary details, you should try to be as honest as possible without bad-mouthing each other. It might be tempting to throw one another under the bus, but this will only hurt your children in the long run.
- Time it right: The time you choose to tell your children about your divorce is critical. You want to give them time to process the information and to ask questions, so telling them before the weekend begins is often an ideal choice. Do not try to unload this information on them before dropping them off at school or before bedtime. It might be easier for you to not have to deal with the aftermath, but it denies them their chance to react to this life-altering news.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Reno
At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. in Reno, our compassionate team of family law attorneys is committed to helping clients navigate the divorce process while protecting their interests. If you and your spouse are no longer able to make your marriage work, you should not hesitate to reach out to our team for the experienced, knowledgeable, and solution-based approach we provide.
Call our law office today at 775.284.8888 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.