How to Prepare Your Children for Your Divorce
Divorce is hard on the family. Not only are you separating from someone you once loved very much, but your children are suffering. They may be confused and fear the future. They may even be wondering if they are responsible for the split.
It’s important that your children are aware of what’s going on, know that they are still loved and the divorce is not their fault. Here are five steps you should follow to prepare them for divorce.
Step 1 – Prepare Before You Break the News
The first thing you should do is have a plan of action. You and your soon-to-be spouse should sit down and discuss how to break the news before speaking with your children. You may consider speaking with a therapist to get the message correct. You will also want to pick a place and a time that is safe and does not involve any friends or relatives. Make sure you don’t discuss the divorce around any important dates like a holiday or your child’s birthday.
Step 2 – Be Straightforward
When it’s time to discuss the divorce, be straightforward. Let them know that the separation is permanent and that everything in the child’s life will stay as similar as possible. You want to reassure the children that you and your former spouse love the children and you both want the child in your life. You’re going to get many questions from your children — remember to stay positive and answer the questions as best as you can. And know that there will probably be tears.
Step 3 – Don’t Assign Blame
This is important. You cannot assign blame. You cannot say, “Well, your father decided he wanted to be with another woman than Mommy” or “Mommy is more interested in her career than Daddy.” This can lead to alienation from your children. Instead, you want to make it appear that the divorce is a joint decision.
In addition, you want to make sure to tell your children that the divorce is not their fault. Instead, you want to let them know that it’s best that mom and dad live apart and this will help them be better parents.
Step 4 – Don’t Fight or Bad Mouth Your Ex
Just like not assigning blame, you don’t want to fight or bad mouth your ex in front of your children, no matter how contentious your divorce is. Remember that children can be extremely impressionable and anything you say in front of your children can affect them.
Step 5 – The Child Comes First
And the most important thing to remember is your children come first. Make sure they understand what’s going on. If you feel they are not taking the divorce well, or just don’t understand what’s going on, you may want to speak with a therapist.
It’s also important that you avoid creating a sense of abandonment. Make sure the ex still plays an important role in the children’s life.
If you are considering going through a divorce, it’s best to get an experienced divorce attorney to help you guide through the process. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.