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Facing divorce is extremely difficult, but you may find it even harder to sit down and tell your children about it. In some cases, it may have been clear for quite some time that divorce was imminent, so the children may already have their suspicions. Sometimes, however, the announcement of divorce comes as a complete shock to children, which makes it even more difficult. There is no perfect way to tell your children that you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, but the below tips can help you find a starting point and ensure you know what to say.
It is always best if both parents can enter into the conversation by sitting down with all children at once and making the announcement together. Even if only one parent wants to get a divorce, it is important neither spouse blames the other for the divorce. Children need to know that their parents will continue to work together post-divorce, which will help their emotional well-being.
Before sitting down with the kids, plan what you and your spouse are going to say. Tell them that something has changed in your marriage and that you are going to get divorced. If you have tried to fix the problem but you still need to end the marriage, you can also tell your children this. Reinforce the idea that the divorce is the fault of you and your partner, and that they are not to blame. Also tell them that although things are going to change, you will still be their parents and you will all still be a family.
Some parents enter the conversation expecting their children to run off to their bedroom and slam the door, or to start yelling and crying. These couples are then surprised when their children remain very calm and simply ask questions about how it will affect them. On the other hand, some parents expect their children to react calmly, particularly if an impending divorce has been clear for some time. These parents are just as shocked when their children break down in tears or stop speaking to them.
No matter the reaction, the most important thing to understand is that children may react in any, all, or none of these ways. Regardless of what your child’s reaction is, it is important that you understand how to react to it. Your child may need to talk further and be reassured, or they may need some space to process their emotions.
Kids are fairly ego-centric and so, they may at first think about how the divorce will affect them in the immediate future. They may have questions surrounding custody and who they will live with, or even why you are getting a divorce. You do not have to provide details about what went wrong in your marriage, but do assure them it is an issue that cannot be resolved. Even if you cannot answer some of these questions, such as where they will live, make it clear that no matter the decision that is reached, you will all face it together and remain a family unit.
Telling your children you are getting a divorce is never easy. It can be easier if you speak to a skilled Hinsdale family lawyer first that can explain the process, and inform you of what you and your entire family can expect. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our compassionate attorneys understand how difficult this process is. We will negotiate effectively with the other side and work hard to get your divorce settled as quickly as possible. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to schedule your free initial consultation.