Before the Divorce – Have a Family Meeting Including Dad
It’s important to sit down as a family and talk about the divorce if at all possible. Having both parents discuss the plan really helps the kids feel more comfortable.
Spell Out the Details that Affect the Kids
Moms should spell out the details of the situation to their kids. Kids want to know exactly how it is going to affect them – can I still go to dance class, if we are moving will I have my own room, can I still see my friends on the weekends, etc. Try to fill out the details of what life will be like moving forward so your child knows what to expect.
Wait for your children’s questions. While it’s important to talk to them about the divorce and why it’s happening, it’s also important to give them space to process it and come back to you with questions. Try to answer thoughtfully and honestly in an age-appropriate way.
Recognize and Support Their Relationship with Dad
Do your best to preserve your child’s relationship with his/her dad. You are angry, hurt, and resentful towards your ex, but this is your child’s parent. Try to keep these two relationships separate and encourage your child to spend time with dad and say that you want him/her to have fun with dad, love dad, and have him as a big part of your child’s life. Do not tell your child how you are feeling about their father and do not discuss the details of what went wrong in your marriage.
Do not ask your child to choose sides and do not guilt your child into rejecting the other parent. This is not a contest. What is best for your child is to have two involved parents.
Consider Support for Your Child’s Emotions
Get your child help and support with a therapist and at the very least, let your child’s teacher know what is happening.
— Brette Sember, author of How to Parent with Your Ex