Life Balance Counseling Blog

How To Tell Your Children That You Are Getting A Divorce

Getting a divorce can be a challenging process for any relationship. When children are involved, it can make the situation a bit more complicated. You may be wondering; how can we tell the children? When do we tell our children? What do we say to them to make this as least painful as possible?

Here are some helpful tips that may help ease your situation:

1. Sit down with each other and decide on when the best time would be to tell your children. Should you tell them before or after your divorce is finalized? Make sure that you are 100% that you are following through with the divorce before you tell your children. You need to be unified parents and on the same page as much as possible for the benefit of your children. Having a family meeting can be most helpful with both parents present. Pick a time when both you and your spouse feel emotionally ready to share the news. You will both need to put your emotions aside (which I know can be difficult) and think about what is best for your children.

2. Avoid sharing information that is harmful to your children. Some details are not necessary to share with your children and often times the child will become confused. It doesn't matter who initiated the divorce or what happened. By sharing too much information may cause more harm to your child and the relationship they have with either parent. Tell them what they need to know (Where will they be living? When will they see each parent? Will they continue to stay at their current school?).

3. Be open in answering any questions your children have but refrain from blaming the other parent. Blaming each other for the divorce in front of your child or telling them whose "fault" it is may force the child to feel like they need to choose a parent's side. The goal is for the child to continue to grow their relationships with both mom and dad. Both parental figures have important roles in a child's life for them to thrive in the current divorce situation. Keep your thoughts to yourself or seek support from friends, family or a professional counselor.

4. Try to understand your child's feelings towards the divorce and listen to them when they want to talk. Put yourself in your child's shoes: how would you feel if your parent's told you that they were getting a divorce and wouldn't be living together anymore? Everything they once knew is going to be changing. Help your child process their thoughts and feelings and reassure them that you both love them and that this was not their fault. Many children think that when their parents are getting a divorce that it is something they did. Make sure to reenforce that the reason for the divorce is nothing to do with anything they said or did and that it is between mom and dad.

5. Communication is key. As difficult as it may be, having clear communication with one another is the most beneficial for the children during a divorce situation. Letting each other know how the kids are doing and working with one another for scheduling and conflicts is helpful. Try to work together and be unified in establishing boundaries and expectations for one another and for the children. Predictability is helpful for everyone involved. If there are things you don't agree upon, communicate with one another and try to resolve the issues before things escalate.

6. Self-care for both parties. Each of you need to stay as calm as possible and make sure that you take care of yourselves. Divorce brings a range of emotions and it is important that you are taking care of yourself both physically and mentally in order for everyone to get through this challenging time. Make time to do things for yourself as you work thorough the grief process.

If you feel like you are struggling with various emotions of divorce or need help finding ways to facilitate various areas of divorce (telling your children, identifying ways for parents to work together, or children having a difficult time with divorce), seek a professional counselor's help.

Life Balance Counseling in Schaumburg has several counselors that help work with divorce situations. Feel free to call our office at 888.234.7628 or info@lbcounseling.com