Sharing the News of a Divorce with Children

Everyone divorcing wants the process to go as smoothly as possible. That’s even more important for children. Experts believe that splitting spouses can soften the blow by picking the right time, place and circumstances to deliver the news.

The last thing many spouses in Texas and elsewhere want after parting ways is to cooperate or coexist with a former partner. Experts suggest that parents should temporarily sacrifice individual comfort and talk about the divorce with children together.

The timing is critical. Specialists say parents and children should not be caught up in outside commitments on the day news is broken. Clearing schedules can be tricky, but it’s necessary to allow children the opportunity to react, absorb, process and ask questions.

Parents should be aware that talking about a divorce with kids should not coincide with an otherwise memorable occasion. The announcement of a divorce during a day like Thanksgiving or a birthday may ruin future celebrations for the child.

Deciding on what will be said as a parental team in advance is advised. Shying away from the word “divorce” is not recommended. Advisers say adults should not try to soft sell the truth. At the same time, full disclosures of details surrounding the divorce may not be helpful or wise for children to know.

Parents should expect children to respond emotionally. Making room for a child’s feelings is part of delivering the news. Children may pepper parents with questions, which may or may not be anticipated.

Spouses should try to work out responses to expected questions before meeting with children, including an answer to the question “Why?” It might be tempting for a parent to blurt out that a spouse has been unfaithful, but adult disputes should be reserved for times when children are not present.

Source: The Huffington Post, “How to Tell Your Children You Are Getting Divorced: 5 Tips,” Kathryn Murphy and Linda Solomon, Mar. 2, 2012

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