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Breaking Point: How to Tell Your Kids That You’re Getting Divorced

When a marriage ends, it affects the entire household dynamic. Children are often caught in the middle of a divorce, but they do not have to be. By putting aside your differences and focusing on the mental and physical health of your kids, you can make the difficult situation more manageable. Consider these four tips for telling your kids that you and your spouse are getting divorced.

Being Honest

Children are perceptive. They will notice that you and your spouse are not in a loving relationship. Avoid dancing around the subject of divorce. Be honest with your kids about what is happening. They will remember your honesty and appreciate your forthrightness as they get older. A statement as simple as, “Mommy and daddy are no longer in love with each other, but we still love you.” may be all that your child needs to hear.

Consulting a Lawyer

Consulting a lawyer during a divorce is key to protecting your rights. Professionals, like those at DiPietro Family Law Group, know that things like custody arrangements are an integral part of the divorce process. Lawyers are also able to assist you with setting up fair child support and alimony payments. An attorney who handles divorce cases might also be able to provide some words of advice on explaining the legal process to your kids.

Talking With Each Child

Speak with each of your kids about the upcoming divorce. A teenager may need more time to process the information compared to a two-year-old. Take the time to speak with your child when there will not be any other distractions. Avoid answering the door or the phone during this important conversation. Put all of the focus on your child.

Deciding Which Details to Share

There is no need to share all of the details of a messy divorce with your children. A teenager may be able to handle more than a kindergarten-aged child. Your child is neither your counselor nor your confidante, and should not be burdened with the dirty laundry of the relationship. You can be honest without overwhelming your child with all of the details of your marriage’s end.

You can expect strong emotions from your kids during and after the divorce process. Do not hesitate to visit a counselor with your kids or to arrange for a support group or individual counseling sessions. Be sure to explain to your kids that they did nothing wrong, and the reason for the divorce had nothing to do with what the kids did or did not do.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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