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Divorce 101: How to Break the News to Your Kids

Most couples do not envision a divorce when they are getting married. After all, it is meant to be a joyful event in which you are unified with your life partner until “death do us part.” Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it is very possible for a marriage that was once the epitome of happiness to end up in separation.

When this happens, it is crucial to pay attention to your children’s emotional health. Several studies have shown a direct link between parental separation and mental problems in young children. If you and your partner have agreed that the best course of action is to split up, here are a few pieces of advice on how to tell your kids about the divorce.

1. Show unity
The most important thing is to show a sense of unity. Keeping in mind that your children’s best interests are the main priority in the divorce, you need to put your issues behind for a moment, sit your children down together, and explain the situation.

Whatever the reason for the divorce is, it is important to present it as a mutual decision to avoid feelings of bitterness or resentment towards one parent. The idea is to ensure that your kids’ emotional well-being is not affected. Even if you are not going to be living together, they need to have the confidence that you can still work together to nurture and guide them into adulthood.

2. Address the whole family
It is generally advisable to discuss this issue with the whole family and then have separate conversations with each child. However, there are certain instances where you may want to break the news of your divorce separately. For instance, if you think that your older child is going to have a bad reaction or that their response may upset the younger siblings, holding individual discussions would be ideal.

3. Plan in advance
You don’t want to go into this conversation without planning what you will say. A general rule of thumb is to come up with key messages that you think are important for your children to hear. You should expect a lot of emotions to come up during the meeting. If possible, you can work through some of those moments with your partner and rehearse what you could say in the event of unconstructive comments. Doing this will also help you control your own emotions and communicate effectively with your children during this difficult period.

4. Give them time to adjust
The news of parental separation can be difficult for children to process, so it will probably take some time before they adjust to the new reality. Treat this as an ongoing dialogue and be open to answering questions as honestly as possible. Observe how they are doing over time and maintain familiar routines.

5. Ensure that they know their parents will always love them.
No matter what happens, no matter what changes occur, one thing is for certain, your children should know their parents will always love them. That love will never change, regardless of where they live, what they do and how old they get, your children can count on that. Make sure they don’t ever forget it.

Divorce is a difficult process for everyone involved. If you need an experienced attorney to represent you in your case, Attorney Lindsey Easterling has you covered. Contact Easterling Law, PLLC at 980-272-1365 to get started.