Breaking the news about your divorce to your children should be planned, coordinated and well-thought-out. Even when you know that ending the marriage will be better for them in the long run, it is a significant life change that they will need to process. They need to understand that they are not getting divorced from either parent, the divorce is not their fault, and that both parents love them.
As such, you need to carefully consider how you tell them. Here are a few important tips that can help:
- Do it together. Be consistent with the message. Avoid blaming each other to them. They should not be put in the middle and caused to pick sides. They have the internal need to love both parents. Let them.
- Approach it with understanding. They are entitled to their feelings regardless of yours. Assure them that their feelings are “normal,” and that their feelings cannot be “wrong.” Listen to their concerns and never tell them that you “know better because you are the parent.” Help them understand your perspectives.
- Above all, focus on helping them feel secure and loved. Give them time to digest the information and understand that the world is not falling in on them.
Always put the children first. Their needs must be the most important thing to you and the other parent. How you tell them about the upcoming split is just one way you can protect and care for them. Once you tell the children, consider all of the other legal options you have in order to work toward that same goal of emotionally protecting them.