No question getting divorced is one of the most challenging experiences of life. Of its many brutal aspects, informing your children could be the worst. However, it is essential to address the issue head-on with your kids as soon as possible.
The tips below will help you approach the divorce subject with your children. Then, talk to a Crystal Lake divorce lawyer at Bruning & Associates for more information.
What Do Children Need During A Divorce?
Your child will be concerned and nervous about this challenging news. They will wonder what it means for them and your relationship. Make the information easier by remembering what children need in this situation:
They want both parents to be involved in their lives. It may be unknown who will get custody and other details. The children will want you to stay in touch by phone, email, and text. Staying involved is essential so they feel loved.
They do not want you to fight with their other parent. Failing that, you should strive for agreement on the issues vital to your children. If you have disputes over the kids, they feel like they did something wrong.
They want to love you and still spend time with you. So do not make them feel they should take sides in the divorce.
They want you and your spouse to communicate with each other. That way, the children do not need to convey messages between you. Putting the children in the middle is always a mistake.
Plan The Conversation
It takes careful planning to tell your children about your divorce. You are likely hurting, but it is critical to shield your children from your anger and sadness as much as possible. You can do so by thinking about when and where to tell them.
Many family experts recommend telling the kids about the divorce on a day you will spend family time with them. Talking to them about this challenging subject could be best on a Saturday or Sunday while doing a family activity. However, you should not pick a holiday or tell them before they go to school or bed. Instead, choose a time when they can process and ask questions.
You should agree with your spouse on how and when to tell them. But if you cannot agree, consider hiring a mediator or mental health counselor to negotiate a solution. The most important thing about this conversation is not to do it suddenly without thought. Your children’s mental and emotional health is at stake, so use care in the divorce conversation.
Do Not Blame Your Spouse
You need to be honest about divorcing, but never blame the other person in front of the children. This should never be shared with the kids. Avoid the blame game on both sides.
If there was infidelity, this should not be discussed. The split can be expressed as ‘Mom and Dad don’t love each other anymore and need to spend time separately.’
Help The Children Grieve
For most children, divorce is a massive loss. They partially lose a parent, and the family is fractured. Help the children grieve and adjust to the new situation. Let them express their feelings about the divorce.
Tell Them It Is Not Their Fault
Many young children think they are at fault for what is happening. They might remember when they fought with their parents, were grounded, or did not do well in school. Help the kids understand that the divorce is not on them:
- Tell the kids why you are getting divorced. If they hear the real reasons, it can help them not blame themselves. If they understand that you and your spouse disagree about money and other related things, this can help them deal with the news better.
- Show patience: Children may understand the divorce one day and then be uncertain the next day. Be patient if they ask the same questions several times.
- Reassure them: You must often tell your children that both parents still love them. They also are not responsible for the split.
Adjusting to a new life during and after a divorce may be daunting for the kids. Help them get used to the changes by offering structure and stability. Giving them structure does not mean you must keep the same schedule or have them occupied 24/7. But providing consistency in their lives during a transition is a big help.
Children always feel more secure when they know what is coming. Even if the kids need to move to a different home, having dinner and bedtime at the usual times will help them acclimate.
How The Children May React
You never know how children will react to the news. Some children may be relieved if you have fought with your spouse. However, many children feel guilty and responsible for what is happening.
No matter how they respond to the news, it is vital to listen to their feelings. Take the concerns they have seriously. They will be concerned about their immediate future, so provide as much information as possible. If you cannot answer all their questions, let the kids know that you need more information before you can give them an accurate answer.
It is essential to give them information early on about where they will live and when. Also, discuss school with them and whether they need to attend a different institution. Everything that directly affects their daily lives should be laid out.
Contact a Crystal Lake Divorce Lawyer
One of the most challenging parts of a divorce is breaking the news to your children. However, it is an important conversation you must have so they know what to expect in the future.
If you plan to get divorced, there are many other critical issues to address. The divorce lawyers at Bruning & Associates can assist you with child custody, property division, alimony, and more. We are pleased to serve Chicago, Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, and Scottsdale, AZ. Our attorneys also represent clients in Warrenville, Naperville, Lake Forest, and Saint Charles offices. Please contact our Crystal Lake divorce lawyer today at (815) 415-3000.