If you have made the decision to divorce, the next step may be to explain to your kids what they can expect in the weeks and months ahead. Divorce will bring significant changes to their lives, and you will have to have an initial conversation with them about the end of your marriage. The way you handle this conversation is critical to how your kids handle your divorce, and preparation is important.
You and the other parent want to protect the best interests of your kids, regardless of how the two of you feel about each other. Starting with this first conversation, it is possible for you to support your kids and help them navigate this difficult time of change and transition. Before you sit down and have this talk, consider how to approach it in light of your kids’ unique needs and levels of understanding.
Considerations for your kids
Even if things are tense between you and your spouse, you will find it beneficial for the kids to set these feelings aside as you tell them about your divorce. Presenting a united front can help your kids feel secure about maintaining their relationships with both of you. Other helpful tips when having this conversation include:
- Work with the other parent to plan out what you are going to say to the kids and how you will approach the conversation.
- Both parents should be present for the conversation, even if you do not presently get along.
- Do not place blame on the other parent for the divorce.
- Explain why the divorce is happening in a way that is age-appropriate for your specific kids.
- Tell your kids what they can expect from the next few weeks and months.
- Reassure your kids that they are not to blame for what happened between you and the other parent.
- Allow your kids to ask questions and express emotions.
- Have this conversation in a setting where the kids will feel comfortable and have a measure of privacy.
After this initial conversation, you can continue your efforts to protect their best interests by seeking a custody and visitation arrangement that is suitable and sustainable long-term. California parents who are facing the prospect of a divorce will find it best for their kids to focus on what will be best for the children now and in the future instead of how they feel in the moment. Starting with the first conversation about divorce, parents can prioritize the needs and well-being of their kids.