Wednesday, 4 May 2022

9 Tips for Explaining Divorce to Your Children

Going through a divorce can be an extremely challenging experience. If you have children, explaining the divorce to them is one of the most difficult tasks you’ll have to face.

Fortunately, divorcing couples can now apply for a no-fault divorce. This new divorce law means that parents no longer have to point blame when going through the divorce procedure. Experts predict that these recent reforms to the divorce law will reduce conflict, making things easier on the children involved.

That said, even the most amicable of divorces can be tough for children to handle. So, it’s worth carefully considering how you’ll explain the situation to your kids. Take a look at these tips to help…

9 Tips for Discussing Divorce with Your Kids

1. Plan first

When you’re explaining divorce to your children, it’s good to have a plan. It’s best to write down what you’d like to say, as being prepared can make things a whole lot easier and ease any feelings of stress.

Try and think about any questions that your children might ask you so you can reflect on how you might answer them. It’s unlikely to be an easy conversation, however it is a conversation that needs to happen.

Once you’ve written down a few key notes, discuss these with your divorcing partner (if you’re in a position to do so). When you’re having a joint conversation with your children, it’s helpful if you’re both on the same page.

2. Keep it simple

Your children might ask you why the divorce is happening, or where they will live. When you’re answering these questions, it’s good to keep your explanations simple, rather than going into too much detail. While you’ll want to be honest, it’s best that your children are protected from any inappropriate content that might upset them.

3. Avoid blaming language

When you’re talking to your kids about divorce, it’s incredibly important that you avoid blaming language. Naturally, there may be some ill-feeling between you and your partner, but it’s vital that you try not to talk badly of each other in front of your kids. Children can have an incredibly difficult time when their parents are getting divorced, and so it’s important to protect their mental health as much as you can.

4. Reassure your kids

When parents get divorced, this can be an incredibly difficult time for children. They may worry that the situation is somehow their fault. For this reason, when you’re explaining divorce to your kids, it’s vital that you give them lots of reassurance.

Make sure that they know they have done nothing wrong, listen to their concerns, and assure them that you will do everything you can to make the situation easier for them.

Children might be worried about their living situation changing, and how the divorce might affect how often they see their parents or extended family members. When you are offering reassurance to your children, it’s important that you be honest. Try not to make promises that nothing is going to change, but rather talk about how you’ll be supporting your children through these changes.

5. Keep it age appropriate

When you’re explaining divorce to your children, it’s important that you keep your discussions age appropriate. Younger children may have a hard time understanding, so you’ll need to keep your explanation simple and sensitive. It may also be a good idea to use toys or children’s books to help you.

With older children, you’ll need to take a different approach. It’s likely that they are going to have more questions and may respond in a different way. It’s vital that you strike a balance between honesty and sensitivity.

6. Patience is key

Your children are likely to express many emotions during this difficult time. The most important thing is that you remain patient, and allow your children to express themselves. Ensure they know that it’s normal for them to feel angry or upset, and that you are here for them to talk if they need to.

It’s likely that your kids are going to need a bit of time to adjust to the situation, but in time they will start to feel better.

7. Talk to your children together

Getting divorced is an incredibly difficult experience, and it may be that there is a degree of animosity between you and your ex-partner. Regardless, if possible, it is a good idea to speak to your children together.

It can be less stressful for children to hear the news from both parents, as opposed to just one parent. Talking to your kids together means you can support each other, remain neutral, and avoid blaming one another.

8. Create a parenting plan

To help you explain your divorce to your children, it can be helpful to create a parenting plan. Your plan can be used to show your kids how they will spend their time, and what they can expect now and in the future.

Depending on how amicable the situation is, and how far you can agree on child custody, this may not be an option. However, if you are able to agree on your child’s living arrangements, it can be helpful to explain this early on.

9. Positive distractions

Once you’ve discussed your divorce with your children, they are likely to be feeling upset and confused. At this difficult time, it can be helpful to provide your child with some positive distractions.

Start by asking them what you can do to make them feel better. Then, consider planning a few fun days out together to take their mind of things.

Discussing Divorce with Your Kids Won’t be Simple…

Discussing divorce with your children is never easy, however, it is a conversation that needs to happen. As much as possible, you and your partner should attempt to work as a team when explaining divorce to your children.

It’s important to remain neutral, and to shield your children from any tension. Ensure that you focus on age-appropriate explanations and give your kids space to express their emotions. Preparing for the conversation can help you to ensure that the discussion runs smoothly.

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