If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is going to be the best option for you, it can be scary to know how and when you should break this news to your children. Depending on the ages and personalities of your children, the way you choose to handle this conversation may vary from how any of your friends or acquaintances have told their children about their own divorces. Because of this, it can be hard to know exactly what you should do. However, knowing what you shouldn’t do is pretty cut and dry for every parent-child relationship. So to help you make it through this tough time, here are three things you shouldn’t do when telling your children that you’re getting divorced from their other parent.
Wait Too Long To Break The News
The first two people who are going to know that you and your spouse have decided to get divorced are you and your spouse. Once this decision has been made, there are quite a few things that you’re going to have to figure out, both emotionally and logistically. Because of this, you might feel that waiting a while before you break the news to anyone else, including your children, is a good idea.
While giving yourself some time can be helpful, Dr. Ala Ravitz, a contributor to ChildMind.org, recommends that you tell your children about your decision sooner rather than later. Children can be very intuitive and pick up on things that you might try to be hiding. Additionally, you won’t want your child to hear the news of your divorce for anyone other than you and your spouse, so make sure your kids are one of the very first people you share your decision with.
Allowing Your Emotions To Be Out Of Control
As was mentioned above, you may feel that it’s necessary for you to take some time to emotionally cope with your decision to divorce before you speak to your children about it. And actually, according to Vikki Stark, a contributor to Psychology Today, this can be very crucial in order for you to gain control over your own emotions before dealing with your children’s. Ideally, the time you spend sharing the news of your divorce with your children will be focused on them and what they feel or need from you as their parent, not necessarily how you’re feeling. So if you need to take a few days to grieve and control your emotions before speaking with your children, please take that time.
Criticize Or Blame Each Other
When you and your spouse sit down with your children to discuss your divorce, Rachael Sherman, a contributor to The Conversation, shares that you should do everything in your power to avoid criticizing or blaming the other parent. Try to maintain this rule, that you and your spouse won’t talk poorly about the other in front of the kids, throughout your entire divorce process and while you try to co-parent together, as this could have very negative effects on your children.
If you’re about to speak with your children about divorcing their other parent, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you learn how to navigate these waters.