If you’ve reached the point in your marriage where a divorce is inevitable, you likely have been worried about how the separation will affect your children. Regardless of how bad things have gotten between you and your current spouse, your children need to remain one of your top priorities throughout the entire divorce process.
There is no easy way to tell your children about the divorce, but there
are several ways that you can make things easier on them. Many couples
make crucial mistakes during the divorce process that fracture the relationship
they share with their children. In order to avoid these common pitfalls,
you should remain level-headed throughout the divorce proceedings and
keep them informed every step of the way.
Your impending divorce is probably weighing heavy on your mind, but that shouldn’t affect the way you treat your kids. Here is a list of “dos” and “don’ts” to keep in mind that can help minimize the repercussions of a divorce on your children:
DO: Maintain a normal routine:
If you can bite your tongue and act as if nothing is wrong until the divorce process begins, it will greatly benefit your children. Your kids are more astute than you may think. Any changes in your daily routine will lead them to believe that something is awry.
DON’T: Speak poorly about your spouse:
It is quite easy to let your divorce consume you, and—for obvious reasons—you may want nothing to do with your current spouse until the divorce is finalized. However, your children may immediately notice if your mood has soured, especially if you’re acting hostile towards your spouse. Also, do not start showering your children with special gifts out of guilt. You never had to “buy their love” when your marriage was healthy, so you should not feel the need to do so now.
DO: Set aside adequate time to break the news:
By scheduling a one-hour block of time for the conversation, you will allow your children to ask any questions that they will have about the divorce. Depending on how old your children are, they may not even fully understand how the divorce will affect them.
DON’T: Casually tell your children about the divorce:
One of the worst mistakes that parents make when informing their children about a divorce is failing to make time for a conversation. Never tell your children about a divorce on the way to school, and do not try to dismiss the divorce as if nothing will change.
DO: Use specifics and concrete details:
Your children may be emotional about your impending divorce, but they deserve to know exactly how it will affect them. By keeping your children “in the loop,” they will appreciate you and the situation much more once they grow older and reflect on how you handled the divorce process.
DON’T: Be vague or misleading:
When you do finally tell your kids about the divorce, you should be as
firm and informative as possible. If you try to reassure them that “nothing
will change” or “this is a good thing,” they will be
disappointed and upset when the divorce is finalized and certain aspects
of life begin to change.
As a general rule, there should be no questions that are off-limits when talking to your children about a divorce. This decision will affect them just as much as it affects you, so it is only fair that you remain as honest as possible. Talk to an experienced Cincinnati, Ohio, divorce attorney for additional tips to make sure that your children do not have a negative experience during this trying time. Contact King, Koligian & Associates, LLC today to get started.