Choosing to divorce can be hard for any couple. If you have kids, it can make it even more complicated, giving you many more things to consider. One of the first problems to tackle is how to tell the children.
However aware your kids are about your problems, few will expect that divorce is on the cards, so assume it will come as a shock to them. Even if they say they get it, do not think that means they are all right. The reality will take time to sink in.
What you do next depends on your unique situation
You would not break the news to a three-year-old in the same way as you would to a 17-year-old. Here are some tips that apply to all ages:
- Consider what they already know and how much they need to know: Your children may have overheard arguments yet, you do not want to go into too much detail about the causes for divorce. As for the future, you are unlikely to know everything yet, so do not make promises you might not be able to keep.
- Set ample time aside: However busy your calendar is, you cannot squeeze “tell the kids we are divorcing” in a half-hour slot between “personal training session” and “crucial business meeting.” Think carefully about when you do it as you cannot be sure how it will affect you or them.
- Focus on them, not you: Yes, you are the ones divorcing, but you are also changing your kids’ lives. Talk about how it will change their lives and, importantly, what will remain the same. Remember: You cannot control their reactions, so be ready to be patient.
Divorce will be challenging for you and your kids, so ensuring you get accurate information on how divorce works will be crucial to ensure you can give your children the right messages.