You and your spouse have decided to divorce. Once you have reached this decision, you need to talk to your kids about it. Having an honest conversation with them is crucial; a good conversation can help both the parents and the kids deal with the upcoming divorce in a more positive, healthy way. Here are seven tips to help you have a helpful talk about divorce with your kids.
1. Plan what you’re going to say.
Now is not the time to adlib. Instead, you should take the time to think about what you want to say. Note important things that you want to say. For example, if your spouse is moving out of the house and shared custody arrangements are already in the works, let your kids know.
When you have your discussion with your kids, keep your notes nearby. You only have one chance to make this talk go smoothly, so take it very seriously and come prepared.
2. Schedule a time.
Because this is such a serious talk, make sure to schedule a time for it. You don’t want to broach the subject of divorce with your kids while you’re driving to soccer practice. Instead, set a time when you and your spouse can both sit down with the kids to have this important conversation.
3. Make sure both spouses are there for the talk.
This will not go as well if only one spouse is present. Whenever possible, you should make sure that your conversation about divorce includes the whole family. Although it may not be comfortable or pleasant communicating with your spouse and agreeing on a time to talk to your kids about your divorce, it’s essential.
4. Ditch the blame game or any negative words.
With both spouses present, it should help curb some of the negative speech that can happen if only one parent is there for the talk. It is completely inappropriate for you to villainize your spouse in front of the kids. Whenever you speak to or about your spouse, you should try to keep your words as neutral as possible.
This will help encourage your kids to have a relationship with both parents. Studies have shown that it’s beneficial for your kids to have both parents in their lives. So, choose your words wisely so that you don’t accidentally taint your kids’ relationship with your spouse.
5. Let your kids know that they are not to blame.
Unfortunately, with the way that kids’ minds work, they might believe that they are somehow to blame for your upcoming divorce. It’s important to state and reinforce that your divorce has nothing to do with them or anything that they have done. This divorce is about the relationship that exists between you and your spouse, and neither of you have changed your feelings about your kids.
6. Tell the truth.
When you’re talking to your kids about divorce, you need to be as honest and straightforward as possible. A good way to avoid accidentally lying to your kids is to be vague when you answer questions. Unless a custody agreement is already in place, you just don’t know 100% what will happen with your kids after the divorce
Do your best to avoid answering with certainty. Instead, give options of scenarios that might happen.
7. Remember that you’re both still parenting.
Even though your marriage may be dissolving, you are both still parents to your children. It’s important that you both embrace your new role as co-parents as you leave your role as spouses. Try to ensure that both parents get to spend time with the kids during this difficult transitional period.
We Can Help
If you’re thinking of getting a divorce in the Houston area, we can help. At Alsandor Law Firm, we specialize in family law. Let our experts answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (713) 701-9384 or visit our website to find out how we can help you with your upcoming divorce.