When you married your spouse, chances are you weren’t thinking about the end of the marriage. However, people change as the years go by, and divorce may become the only way to move forward with your life. Many often view divorce in a negative light and as a failure. Yet, every year, thousands of spouses in Minnesota go through divorce, so it’s not unusual and certainly nothing to be ashamed about.
It’s also no secret that divorce can potentially be the most challenging life event you’ll ever face. For parents, one of the toughest parts about getting divorced is telling the children that their parents are separating. When your divorce becomes inevitable, you should break the news to your kids before they find out from someone else. The following strategies can help when it comes time to tell your children about your divorce.
Do it together
Keep in mind that this will likely be something that your children will remember for quite a long time. A conversation of this magnitude is something that you and your partner should do together. This will show the children that, despite the separation, their parents remain united and committed to working together.
Before breaking the news, spend some time with your partner and come up with a plan about what you want to say and how you will explain to your children that their parents are divorcing. Also, consider how the children will react. By planning ahead and preparing, you’ll be able to break the news in a confident and straightforward manner. This will be important as emotions are likely to be running high.
Consider the time and setting
You will want to have this conversation in a place and time when everyone will be calm and collected. Choose a time when you and your children will not have to rush and are able to focus on the discussion. The children will feel comfortable and safe in their home, so this may be the best place to have the conversation.
Listen to them
Once you and your partner have said what you need to say, let the children respond. Listen to their concerns, field their questions, and let them know that you both will support them. Allow them to express their emotions, let them know it’s okay to cry, and give them space if they need it. Every child will react differently to hearing the news that their parents are separating.
When parents divorce, the most important thing they can do for their children is to reassure them that you are still their parent and will always be there for them. That’s all that really matters. There is rarely anything easy about divorce. Fortunately, there is professional help available for anyone who is going through a separation.