The primary issues behind helping your children cope are reestablishing stability in your home and directly addressing your children’s needs with an affirmative, reassuring attitude. It may not be seamless, but the efforts will certainly pay off—and in the long run, may affect the relationship between you and your child.
What to Tell Your Kids
It is completely normal to feel uncertain about addressing the topic of divorce. Aside from being a pressing, passionate personal issue, for your child, it is completely uncharted territory. In order to help with the issue, we’ve provided parents with a list of what to say to your kids and how to say it.
Tell the truth. Your kids deserve to know why you are getting a divorce—but also keep in mind that too much information may be upsetting and downright confusing for your child. Pick a simple and honest response such as “We just can’t get along.”
Avoid blaming. It’s essential to be honest with your child without being critical of your spouse. Transferring blame in any regard can be very troubling for your child and can potentially harm your relationship with them—or your spouse’s future relationship with the child.
Be age-aware. The younger the child, the less information you need to give. If your child is older, be prepared to provide a bit more detail.
Remind your child that you love them. This may seem simple, but reassurance is key—and after all, love is the most powerful message. Tell them that you care for them, and the imminent divorce will never change that.
Address change. Let your child know that some things may change following the divorce, and ask some preemptive questions about these changes. Again, be reassuring, and remind them that you will be there to help.
Help Your Child Express Feelings
Now that you’ve talked to your kid, and gotten the hardest part out of the way, the next step is to help your children express their feelings. As a parent, this step should be fairly natural:
Listen. Encourage an open environment and let your child express their feelings. Be supportive, help them find the right words, and acknowledge their feelings.
Encourage honesty. As aforementioned, your child may display feelings of anger or deep sadness. Allow them to express honesty. Anticipate these moods based on your child’s disposition. Above all, continue to provide support, and remain objective.
Talking to your children can be difficult—especially when divorce is on the horizon. At Simon Law, we are experts in Tempe family law, and know how important family is. If you need help at any stage in divorce, please contact us today.