Tips for telling your children you're getting a divorce

Date: Mar 10, 2014

One of the most difficult aspects of getting a divorce is breaking the news to your children.

A divorce law firm can help you with the legal aspects of separating from your husband or wife and provide you with family law advice, but explaining the situation to your children is up to you.

According to Psychology Today, it's common for parents to speak with the oldest child first, before telling the rest of their family. Dr Kevin D. Arnold says this probably isn't the best strategy, as it can make your oldest child feel like they're having to keep secrets from their siblings - a heavy burden.

In addition to this, it could make your younger children feel like you don't trust them or believe they can't handle problems.

The best way to broach the topic with your children, explains Dr Arnold, is to gathering your whole family together and tell everyone at the exact same time - that way, it's all out in the open.

The Huffington Post adds that you should try to maintain a "unified parental front" when discussing your divorce with your children. This may not be possible in some cases, but it should help your children to feel a bit "more secure and less anxious" about what is likely to be a major change in their lives.

"There is nothing more confusing to a child than to hear conflicting messages from the two most trusted adults in his or her life," states Michelle Rozen, a Family and Divorce Mediator and Parenting Coordinator. So, ensure you and your husband or wife get your story straight before speaking to your children - and avoid providing them with the nitty-gritty details they don't need to hear.

Baby Center states that it's important to wait until you know for sure that you're going your separate ways before letting your children know. If you tell your children you are getting a divorce and then you don't, this will only confuse them. And if you tell them too far in advance of your spouse moving out, this will cause them to fret long before they need to. 

It shouldn't be a rush-job, either - make sure you've set aside plenty of time to answer any questions your children might have, say that you and your spouse love them, and reassure them  your divorce isn't going to change that.

For more information, get in touch with the family lawyers at Craddock Murray Neumann today.