On behalf of Roeder, Cochran, Phillips, PLLC on Monday, June 10, 2019.
The decision to divorce is difficult for most adults to make. One thing that can complicate the situation even more is when you have to tell your children that their parents are splitting up. It is usually best if you make a plan for breaking the news before you have to take that step.
One thing that might make it easier is if you and your ex can discuss it with them together. This does a few things that can help the children through the transition. First, it shows them that their parents will continue to work as a team. Second, it gives them the chance to share their concerns with both parents. Third, it ensures that all information being passed around is shared with everyone in the same manner.
Plan the meeting carefully
You want to discuss the divorce with children when they can focus on what you are saying. It might be best to choose a quiet morning or afternoon when they don’t have any activities planned the rest of the day. If the children are in school, try not to spring this on them when they are in the midst of standardized testing, finals or other big difficult days at school.
Be factual in a simplified way
The children don’t need to know all the gritty details about why the divorce is happening. They just need an overview of the situation, such as “Mom and Dad don’t get along now and can’t keep living together.” They need to be reassured that they didn’t cause the divorce and that they can’t do anything to put the marriage back together. They also need to have a basic plan about how they will share time with both parents.
Allow them to ask questions
Children are inquisitive. They will likely have some questions. Prepare yourself in advance for this possibility because they might have some challenging questions. You shouldn’t answer questions with promises of what is going to happen unless you are fully sure that you can pull off those promises.
Because children need stability in order to thrive, you and your ex should try to come to the terms of the parenting plan as quickly as possible. This ensures that you can start helping the children to settle into the new way of life soon so that they can start to see that life between two homes isn’t all that bad.