You and your spouse have thought long and hard about this, and have decided it is time to bring your marriage to an end. It’s difficult enough without children, but if you have kids you need to help them understand. All sorts of things will run through their heads, and they may even think that it is their fault. Here are six tips to help children understand your divorce.
You need to talk about the divorce with them. There’s no point keeping it quiet, and wait until one of you moves out. That is not doing the children any favours.
It’s going to make the situation harder to deal with. You need to talk to them and reassure them that this isn’t their fault. Explain in a way that they will understand depending on their ages.
They’re going to have questions. They want to know why, whether they can do anything and what they did.
It’s up to you to be there to answer them. Let them ask their questions during the discussion, and keep the opportunity to ask questions open. Make it clear they can ask either of you their questions, and you will answer them openly and honestly.
There are books around written just for children to understand divorce. Encourage them to read, and discuss the situation between them. Then you can ask them to come to you afterwards with their questions and any concerns they have.
You could go to the library for these books, but you can also download them or buy them online if you want to remain relatively anonymous. Watch out for the websites available. It’s important to make sure the content is suitable for their age.
They need to know what will happen now that you are getting a divorce. Who will they live with? When will they see their other parent?
What happens at weekends and on school runs? These are all questions that will come up, and they need the answers to it. You may want to leave the answers to them. If they’re old enough, ask them who they want to live with and when they want to see their other parent.
There will be a lot of changes happening right now. They need to be ready for them, and the best way of doing that is through a calendar.
It can be when they are moving because you’re moving out, or when their other parent is moving out. Let them help with making the calendar, so they have some involvement in the events.
While divorce is hard, there are some positives for children. If there has been a lot of arguing in the home, you can point out that all that stops now.
You can also focus on them celebrating holidays and birthdays twice, or getting to go on double the amount of holidays now.