When parents make the tough choice to get a divorce, they know they must find a way to break the news to their kids. Regardless of the reason for the divorce, the age of the kids or the length of the marriage, this is never an easy thing to do.
Moms and dads can find ways to discuss divorce with their children that minimize negativity and provide the level of support, structure and love the kids need to navigate the changes a divorce brings.
Starting with an all-family meeting
Psychology Today recommends that parents hold a meeting with all family members when initially telling the kids about a divorce. This allows them to show a united front to the kids and support the concept that the divorce does not change the love the kids will feel or receive from both parents. It also reinforces the unity of the parents as a team in raising the children.
Telling all children together also prevents one child knowing before the others and then having to keep a secret from the siblings. This can create a significant burden for the child who learns about the divorce first.
Subsequent one-on-one discussions
Once the main news has been shared with all children, parents should expect to engage in subsequent and even ongoing discussions with their children individually. Today’s Parent explains this allows for more directed, age-appropriate conversations as children’s needs vary dramatically based on their developmental stages. Younger children, for example, may require shorter discussions that are frequently repeated and focused on the tactical elements of their daily lives.