Having a serious discussion about divorce can be intimidating for anyone, but even more so when your child is the one you plan to talk to.
How you share the news can influence how your child reacts. Learning the appropriate way to handle it can help you both stay respectful and calm throughout the conversation.
Be direct but kind
According to Psychology Today, you should not overshare the reasons why you chose to split from your ex-spouse. These private details often only confuse or worry children.
Instead, plan out what you want to say ahead of time. Avoid talking about financial or interpersonal struggles you faced while going through this process. Allow your children to absorb this change at their own pace and ask questions if they want to.
Do not force them to pick sides
Children may naturally feel conflicted when their parents choose to separate, usually because they assume divorce means they need to choose sides. In order to quell that fear, make it clear to your children that you and your ex-spouse are still a team.
Emphasize that you both love them, and that that fact will never change. Reassure them, but do not make promises you are not sure about, like if they will not change schools or houses.
Answer their questions
One way to calm your children’s worries is to be direct and answer any questions they have. Do not try to avoid discussion or talk over them.
After the talk, you could check back in on them to make sure they are doing alright. Discussing divorce can seem scary at first, but it can also be rewarding.