5 Big Don’ts When Telling Kids About Your Divorce
Getting ready to break the divorce news to your kids? Wondering how to approach the subject and how much to share? Concerned about how your kids will react and how to handle their questions?
Of course, you’re not alone, but that doesn’t make it feel any easier. Talking about divorce to your children is always tough. Get it wrong and you’ll face long-term consequences you may always regret.
There are many common mistakes parents make at this time. Here are five of the most important you should avoid:
- Blaming or speaking disrespectfully about your children’s other parent. Doing that creates pain, guilt and confusion for your kids. They wonder, “If there’s something wrong with Dad/Mom, there must be something wrong with me for loving them.” This can damage your parental relationship and cause deep insecurities for your children.
- Pressuring children to make choices. Most kids feel torn when asked to choose between their parents. Don’t put them in that position. It makes any child feel extremely guilty regardless of their answer.
- Assuming your children get that they are not to blame. Children are innocent victims of divorce. Remind them frequently that they are not at fault – even, and especially, if you are fighting with their other parent about them.
- Confiding adult information to your children. Parents do this to bond with or try to win the kids over. It creates a burden that children can’t handle and they’ll resent you for it. Talk to adults about adult issues.
- Fighting in front of the children – ever! Remember you will still be their parents following the divorce. The more you can create a parenting alliance, the happier and more stable your children will be. Conflict creates deep emotional wounds in kids. Keep them away from your battles.
Fortunately there’s a lot of support to turn to before having the tough “divorce talk.” Speak to a divorce mediator or see a therapist. Find a Child-Centered or Collaborative Divorce attorney. Seek the advice of Divorce and Parenting Coaches, school counselors or clergy. There are also many valuable books on this topic.
Whatever you do, prepare yourself in advance and try to approach the children together. Be aware of the impact of your words on their innocent psyches. Think before you speak, listen to your children’s responses, and be there to help them face the changes ahead with security, compassion and love.
Written By: Rosalind Sedacca, Child-Centered Divorce Network
About the Author:
Rosalind Sedacca, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and the author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, blog, coaching services and other valuable resources for divorcing and divorced parents, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.