There is no good way to break the news of your divorce to your children. While your marriage may be untenable, you and your spouse’s decision to end it will affect your children’s rhythms, routines and well-being. You may fear that they will have a difficult time adapting to the changes in your family dynamic. Yet, there are ways you can minimize the impact of your divorce on your children’s lives and help them feel safe and secure as they cope.
Treat your spouse with civility
Maintaining a united front with your spouse for your children’s sake may be difficult. Yet, you will want to do your best to treat your spouse with respect and civility in front of your them. By exposing your children to your marital strife, their stress levels will likely increase, and they may feel that they need to take sides in your divorce. Approaching your split with civility, though, will both set a good example for them and provide them with stability during a turbulent time.
Listen to your children
Your children will have many feelings about your divorce, and you will want to give them room to express these. They will also have many questions about how your divorce will affect their lives, some of which may be hard to answer right away. No matter their reactions and concerns, you will want to take time to listen to these and address them in as honest a manner as possible. You may want to do so while engaged in another activity – like taking a walk – that can help facilitate difficult discussions and make them easier to endure.
Foster your children’s relationship with your spouse
No matter how you feel about your spouse, they may be a fit and caring parent. Because it will likely be in your children’s best interests to have frequent contact with them, you will want to help foster this relationship. In doing so, you will want to make sure your spouse attends your children’s events and school meetings. You will also want to find ways for your children to communicate with your spouse and share important news with them when it is your time to parent. Not only will these acts benefit your children, they will help you begin your co-parenting relationship on good footing.
Navigating divorce is difficult, especially with children in the picture. With the help of a family law attorney, you can work out an arrangement that allows them to thrive in its aftermath.