How should you tell kids you are getting a divorce?
Helping your children through the process of a divorce starts with the way that they are first told about it.
Fort Bend residents who are getting divorced and have minor children together have to determine when, where and how to tell the kids. This is never easy no matter how old the children are, how long the parties have been married, or how many kids are in a family.
Breaking the news
It is understandable for parents to feel unsure of how to approach the first conversation about a divorce with their kids. An article in Psychology Today recommends that for most families, gathering all of the children at one time and telling them together is better than telling individual kids one at a time. The reason for this is because a one-by-one approach can cause problems between and for kids.
Children told last can resent their siblings and parents because they may feel lesser in some way due to the fact they were the last to know. Children told first can feel under great stress of having to keep a secret if they are asked not to mention anything to their siblings until everyone knows.
At this first discussion, parents should be sure not to blame the other parent for the divorce. They should also be aware of any signs that kids are assuming blame on themselves. Answering questions honestly and directly is good but there may be some questions best left to offline conversations if certain topics are not appropriate for all ears. This can be most common in families with children of varying age ranges. Not all questions have readily available responses and should be put aside until an appropriate answer can be given.
Following it up
Once kids have been given the news about the divorce, they will each process it in very different ways. This will give rise to further opportunities and needs for parents to talk with their children about the divorce.
As noted in the magazine Today’s Parent, for young children between about three and five years old, these conversations will mostly focus on practical matters. Discussions about where the child will live, what parent will pick them up from school, or who will make their breakfast are likely to be common. These youngsters are also likely to need to discuss the same thing multiple times and parents should remain patient and do so.
As kids age, they can talk a bit more about their feelings and may want to ask other questions. There comes a point, however, when kids stop wanting to talk about things even though they have more mental capacity to understand them given younger siblings. At these tween and teen ages, parents must never abandon kids but rather make them very aware of the opportunity to talk at any time. This will give them the security they need. Keep in mind that the children at some point may feel responsible for causing the divorce and have guilt or will try to fix the problem so their parents stay together.
The long-term view
One of the priorities for parents going through a divorce is the well-being of their children. The newspaper the Huffington Post indicates that by allowing communication back and forth with both parents can help kids both during and after a divorce. It solidifies parent-child bonds in good ways. Many kids will tell you that their one wish was that their parents get back together. This is a difficult matter to talk to them about and sometimes professional counseling is needed to help the children through the changes.
A Skilled Family Law Attorney can assist in giving a parent suggestions on handling such delicate and difficult conversations
For more help during a divorce, Texas parents can look to their family law attorney for guidance.