Divorce is often a difficult decision for spouses to make and, though the experience can be heartbreaking and stressful to endure, it can be even harder for your children. As such, you and your spouse will want to adequately prepare yourselves for this important conversation. Effectively communicating with your children will not only help them through the immediate changes associated with divorce, it will also help them cope with some of the difficulties you might encounter as a family over time as you continue to co-parent.
Consider telling your children about the divorce a few weeks before you plan to move forward with the decision. However, do not have this conversation until you are absolutely certain you and your spouse can no longer make the marriage work. Going back and forth on this decision will only confuse them and cause unnecessary turmoil in their lives.
Take some time to review the following tips, which can help you plan out how you ultimately approach the divorce conversation with your children:
- Plan to tell your children together, if possible. Remember, you and your soon-to-be former spouse are still a team when it comes to parenting. You might not even be on civil terms with one another, but the fact is that you both love your children, so try to unite on this common interest and do not become angry with one another in front of them. This conversation is not about you or your feelings, but rather about helping your children, so set your problems with your spouse aside, and focus on them.
- Have this conversation in a quiet space and make sure nothing needs to be done afterward. One of the biggest mistakes divorcing spouses can make when telling their children about their divorce is doing so before dropping them off at school or before bedtime, restricting the conversation and the possibility of any follow-up questions, and preventing the children from effectively processing this revelation. Try to tell them at the start of the weekend and make sure you are available in case they have questions or need to get something off their chest that they could not immediately think of during the conversation.
- Tell your children’s teachers the day before you plan on telling them. Your children might act out at school after hearing the news, so you want their teachers to be prepared for this. With this knowledge, they can extend a bit of understanding to your children, though it is important that they do not mention it or ask your children anything about it unless they are prompted by them first.
- When you tell your children about the divorce, it is important to drive certain messages home. Make sure they know that the divorce had nothing to do with them and that it was an adult decision they could not have prevented. Let them know that although things will be different, you are all still a family and that both of you will always love and care for them. Lastly, tell your children that it is okay to feel sad, upset, or worried and that you are both here for them whenever they want to talk about their feelings, whatever they might be.
- Tell them what the plan is, but do not be overly concerned with the details of it. In fact, try sticking to the basics, such as you will stay in the house and who will be moving out. This will give them a general idea of what to expect, which will relieve some of the worries they might have regarding the future. Make sure, however, that you never make a promise you have no intention of keeping.
- Be ready for reactions, or even for the total absence of them. Your children might have a tantrum, ask a slew of questions, or they might have no reaction at all. That does not mean they are lacking thoughts or feelings on the matter. If anything, it likely means they are still trying to process this news and what it means for the future. Ask them questions, but try not to hound or pressure them into talking about their feelings when they are not ready for it.
Divorce Attorney in Katy, Texas
If you have decided to move forward with the decision to dissolve your marriage and obtain a divorce, you need to seek skilled legal representation as soon as possible to help you effectively navigate the process. At Fischer Law Firm P.C., our family law attorneys in Katy are here to offer compassionate and knowledgeable advice that will get you through this difficult time while protecting your interests.
Get started on your case today and contact our law firm at (346) 444-1050 to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney.