When it comes to divorce, communication is critical not just between spouses, but between parents and their children. What parents say to their kids leading up to, during, and after a divorce matters. One conversation that can be particularly impactful for all the parties involved is the announcement of the divorce.
Research indicates that the moment children learn of their parents’ divorce is one that sticks in their memory. This discussion can play a big role in setting the tone for how a child will cope with the divorce long term.
Because of the impact, parents may be nervous about the conversation. Here are some tips parents may find helpful for telling their children about an upcoming divorce:
- Give careful thought to where and when you make the announcement: Think about what location and circumstances would make the announcement easiest for your children.
- Make sure you and your spouse are sending a unified message: You want your children to understand the situation and all that it entails. It may be a good idea to plan what you and your spouse will say when you make the announcement in order to ensure that you are being consistent and clear in your communication with your children.
- Tell all your kids at once: Telling some but not all of your children about your divorce could leave those who have been told feeling like they have to keep a secret or be a messenger. Avoid putting your children in an uncomfortable position by making the announcement to all your kids at once. The message should come from you as the parent and you alone.
- Be ready to answer questions: Your children may have a lot of questions when they learn about your divorce. It is important to carefully listen to these questions and answer them to the best of your ability in order to ensure your child understands the situation in its entirety.
- Be honest: It is important to keep things honest and age-appropriate when making the announcement as well as when you are answering any questions your children may have regarding the situation.
- Be supportive: Remember that every child reacts differently to divorce. Whatever a child’s reaction, it is important that they feel supported for as long as they need to be.
What happens with your divorce announcement is not the only thing about the divorce that may have a major impact on your kids. Parents can seek out guidance from family law attorneys on how to protect the interests and well-being of their children during the various legal steps of a divorce. If you are struggling with a divorce, do not hesitate to contact our attorneys, and we will assist you in any way that we can.