Having the divorce talk with your children can be so daunting to think about. Their lives are certainly going to change. However, there is a reason for your divorce. You and your ex will be happier in the long run. And it will be best for your children to be raised by separated but happy parents rather than parents who are miserable because they stayed together. Pick the right time and place to have the conversation. Reassure them the whole time. Give them plenty of time to process what you’ve told them. And afterward, check-in and offer support. They will probably be upset but reassure them that they will get used to their new life in no time.
Having the Divorce Talk with Your Children
Pick the Right Time
Before having the divorce talk with your children, decide on an appropriate time and place. It’s really best to do this at home or someplace private. You don’t want to be overheard in a public place and your children might feel uncomfortable getting upset in public. Make sure that you have plenty of time to talk things over. You don’t interrupt or need to leave for work right afterward. It’s really best if you and your partner can have a conversation with your children together.
Keep things simple but clear when having the divorce talk with your children. Let them know that you both still respect each other but that your marriage won’t work and you’ve decided you’d be happier living separately. Reassure them that they did not play any part in the divorce. Children will often blame themselves, so continue to repeat this. Also, reassure them that they will quickly adjust to having separated parents. And of course, continually remind them of how much you both love them.
Give Them Time to Process
After having the divorce talk with your children, give them time to process. Some children might have a hundred questions to ask. Or they might react angrily. Some children get very quiet and closed off. Let them process in their own way and give them time to do so. Don’t try to force them to talk about how they feel about it. They will probably come to you at some point to talk things over. If they react angrily, don’t get defensive. Children don’t need to know every detail that leads to your divorce. They simply need to know that you both still love and support them.
Check in and Offer Support
Finally, after having the divorce talk with your children, check-in and offer support. They may feel uncomfortable talking to you or your ex about their feelings. If this is the case, you can offer to set them up with a counselor or therapist to talk to. Offer constant support whenever they come to you. Remember to keep reminding them that it is not their fault and that you love them. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep offering support for a long time after you’ve split up.
Having the divorce talk with your children isn’t easy. But if the divorce will be better for them in the long run, then you need to have a conversation with them about everything. Wait until you have plenty of uninterrupted time and privacy to tell them about your split. Reassure them constantly and for a long time afterward that they are not at fault and that you love them. Give them time and space to process everything you’ve said. And check in with them afterward and offer them support whenever they need it. It will be a painful conversation. But hopefully, you will all move on quickly and get into a new routine that works for your family.