It can be hard to know the best way to tell your child you and your spouse are getting a divorce. This is a big event in the child’s life that they are not likely to forget, so every detail matters when handling this talk.
It is important to keep the well-being of your child in mind throughout this process. Their development during a divorce can have an emotional impact on their ability to handle stress, education and impulsiveness. Here are a few things to remember before you have this talk:
Timing is everything
A minor problem can seem big at the time and later resolve without needing a divorce. Your child should not be involved in any discussions about divorce that might upset or confuse them. How your child handles their emotions might be impacted if every small upset seems big — so don’t talk to your child about the possibility of a divorce. Wait until you are sure that a divorce is happening to make your announcement.
You do not want to begin the talk before bed or school. It is important that your child has time to come to their parents with questions. You should also avoid having the talk during a holiday that might be a reminder of the divorce.
Act together, if at all possible
Your child should realize that both you and your spouse will still be there for them after the divorce. You and your spouse can help them understand this by talking about the upcoming changes together and reassuring them you will both be there for them in the future.
This also sets the stage for an effective co-parenting relationship after your divorce, where you and your co-parent are focused on raising your children instead of your marital woes.
Make it clear that your child isn’t to blame
It is not your child’s fault that you and your spouse have decided on a divorce. It is best to remind your child this so they do not begin blaming themselves — because that’s a common habit among kids. This can help your child realize that the divorce isn’t under their control.
Divorce can be sudden and unexpected for the entire family. If you are planning a divorce and have a child then you might need to consider these tips even as you look into all your options for the future.