by Kids First Center
-Use the Team Approach
Even though you are separating, you still need to approach important moments with your child as a team whenever possible. Show a united front so that your child understands the divorce is coming from both sides and make sure you emphasize that you will BOTH continue to be involved in parenting decisions in the future.
-Keep it Basic
Children do not have to know all the details when it comes to your divorce. In fact, too many details can burden them with stressful loyalty binds; keeping it simple is better for them in the long run. Tell them that their parents will no longer live in the same house, but that you both still love them very much. Keep any drama and fighting off the table and speak without anger.
Push aside what happened in the marital relationship and avoid reasons for the split. Parents need to think through their words before approaching the child and use neutral, blame-free language. You don’t want the child to blame one parent or the other or, worse yet, himself. The child will likely ask why and you can simply tell him that this was a difficult decision to make, but sometimes adults are no longer happy living together and when they can’t work it out, they need to make the choice to separate.
Kids needs to know that being sad is okay and even normal. Admit to your own sadness about the end of your relationship and help the kids understand that the family needs to move forward together in a different way.
Children will likely be anxious about the changes on the horizon so remind them about what will stay the same. Tell your children that even though their parents won’t be living with each other anymore, you are still their parents, just like their grandparents and cousins and friends will stay the same. Your love for them will never change. Stressing the constancy of this bond will help kids transition more easily.
If your family knows another family that has gone through a divorce and is managing it well, use their experience as an example. Referencing people in the news and entertainment industries who’ve faced similar challenges can also help normalize divorce for your kids, helping them understand that this happens to many people and those people go on to lead happy, healthy lives.
Divorce is never a simple issue to address, but with advance planning and careful thought, you can make the topic as clear and easy on your children as possible.