Breaking the News of Divorce to the Kids
You and your spouse have just officially agreed on getting a divorce, now comes the time to plan how you will break the news to your children. Divorce on its own is scary and overwhelming, and that is only magnified by throwing kids into the mix. However, if you prepare efficiently, sitting down and having “the talk” with your kids can go smoothly.
Before sitting down with your kids, don’t be afraid to consult with a child or family therapist for advice on what to say and how to say it. Helping children of divorce can be challenging Sit down with your spouse and write out a script for the conversation you will have with the kids-this will make giving the actual talk much less intimidating. Choose a specific time and place to sit down and break the news-you do not want friends or relatives to be present, and you do not want the talk to conflict with important dates (for example, the night before a big test).
Research shows that, even though a child may accept the divorce of their parents, the memory of being told usually sticks with them forever. Again, this means that you should put a lot of thought to when and where you will break the news-these details will undoubtedly stick with your kids.
So, now that you have decided when and where to have the talk, what do you say? When talking to your children, try and focus on the positives, while addressing all changes as truthfully as possible. Tell your children the truth, but do so by sticking to simple, honest statements such as, “We can’t get along anymore.” Do not blame one another for the decision; you want to make your divorce appear as a joint decision so that nobody gets portrayed as being “the bad guy.”
The most important part of your talk will be to assure your children that what has happened is not their fault. This decision is between mom and dad. In many cases, children feel that they could have prevented the divorce by not getting in a fight with their sibling, not asking for that toy at the store, etc. Provide a lot of reassurance that the kids are not to blame.
Giving the talk to your children can be overwhelming and scary-but it doesn’t have to be. If you are a parent going through a divorce, contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney to assist you with the process.