Divorce is hard on families. It means big changes, sometimes moving and almost always confusion for children. Children want to know they are safe and that mommy and daddy are going to be there for them. It gets harder to keep up a comfortable routine when families split and this can be hard for children to understand. This is why it is important for you to discuss divorce with your children and what they can expect.
How to Help your Children Through The Divorce
Time it Right: Children need to feel safe, so it’s best to present this life changing news at a time that is comfortable for your children. Don’t do it at a time when they are going to be alone for a long period of time or will be separated from you, such as before school or before going to bed. Make sure you can spend time talking with them, hugging them and answering their questions.
Together is Better: Make sure to tell them together. It will be less stressful for your children if you talk to them together instead of acting separately.
The Blame Game: Children can blame themselves for divorce. They may think it is their fault or it is something that they did. Ensure them that it had nothing to do with anything they did and let them know how much you love them. Avoid blaming the other parent too.
Keep Details on the Down Low: They do not need to be burdened with all of the details surrounding your decision to divorce. Tell them as much as you feel is necessary and do your best to protect them from details and discussions that should be kept between you and your spouse. That means avoiding comments that your mom or dad is an alcoholic or having an affair. We have seen Judge’s punish parents who insist they wanted to tell their children the “truth”.
Ask and Answer Questions: Allow open discussion with your children and answer their questions. Ask them how they are feeling, what they think divorce means and their perspective on the situation. You can take better care of your children when you know how they feel and what they need.
Provide Support and Routine: Be there for your children. Hug them. Keep them to a schedule. This is a big change and they are about to have a lot of differences to their regular routine. The less complications you have, the better off they will be.
Therapy: Sometimes, it helps to talk to a third party. You may want to consider counseling as it gives your children another, unbiased person to speak to about what they are going through.
Other Helpful Resources
Here are some other helpful articles where you can find more information on how to speak with your children about divorce:
Let Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor Help You
With four offices in Georgia, located in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta and Dunwoody, our divorce attorneys serve families throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. If you contemplating divorce, Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor can provide experienced representation for your case. Please call (678) 971-3413 or complete our contact form.