The number one thing to remember when going through a divorce is: Don’t assume your children know what’s going to happen to them! In almost every case, kids find it extremely difficult to understand what’s going to happen. They might not automatically understand that they’re going to have two parents living in separate houses, or that step-parents might be involved in the future among many other things that happen during and after a divorce.
So, what could you do to help ease the impact of divorce on your kids:
DON’T WAIT TO TELL YOUR KIDS YOU’RE GETTING DIVORCED.
Kids aren’t stupid. They know when something’s wrong and if they live in suspicion of a divorce and marital unhappiness, this uncertainty is a slow torture for them. Kids naturally tend to have active imaginations but when faced with the stress of uncertainty, these little imaginations will go into over drive. Kids will start to develop dark and often horrible scenarios in their heads about what’s going to happen to them or you. So PLEASE, once you’ve decided to divorce, talk to your children as soon as possible and (1) explain to them exactly what’s going on and (2) let them ask you any questions and answer them truthfully. Kids need to know what they should expect and exactly how the divorce will affect them.
TELL YOUR KIDS ABOUT WHAT THE POST-DIVORCE LIVING SPECIFICS WILL BE, WITH YOUR SPOUSE PRESENT.
Divorce is hard but telling your kids about the specifics of living arrangements (e.g. when the kids will be at mom’s and dad’s) will help instill in them a sense of security. During this family meeting, under no circumstance should either parent place the blame of divorce on the other. Keep things very simple and specific so the kids can understand what’s going to happen.
TELL YOUR KIDS “IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT” – You can’t do this enough!!!
You can’t say this too many times to you kids during divorce. Tell them these two things again and again and again…(1) you are both going to still love them and (2) the divorce is not their fault!
BE REAL ABOUT FEELINGS.
It’s okay to tell acknowledge that this whole situation is difficult and sad for everyone. Make sure your kids know that it’s okay to mad, sad, hurt, frustrated. Make your home a safe place for your kids to express their feelings. You want your kids to feel emotionally safe. With this said, DO NOT UNLOAD ON YOUR KIDS! Your own emotional unloading time should be spent with a family member, friend or therapist.
BOOKS FOR SMALLER KIDS:
*Checkout your local library too.