One of the most dreaded tasks divorcing parents must face is breaking the news to their children. It is usually vital to tell them early to prevent them from hearing it from someone else.
Unfortunately, most parents do not know how to approach this task or what language to use when explaining divorce to kids. As a result, the conversation could leave your children with fears and concerns you failed to address.
Use clear language
Avoid stalling with your kids and get straight to the point, clearly explaining that you and your co-parent can no longer stay married. Chances are that your children already know something is wrong. The longer you delay the conversation or use imprecise language, the more anxious they may feel.
Use reassuring words
Remember to sprinkle words of comfort throughout your discussion with the kids. Phrases like these can help them feel more reassured:
- We still love you and always will.
- We both plan to see you as often as we can.
- None of this is your fault.
- We do not hate each other; we just need to live apart.
- It is okay if you feel upset or angry, and we understand.
Offering to answer any questions your children may have might encourage them to express their feelings—a healthy means of processing unwelcome news. However, have at least a temporary plan in case they ask about child custody or visitation arrangements.
Unfortunately, the ability to work together cooperatively is sometimes elusive when ending a marriage. Knowledge of Pennsylvania divorce and child custody laws helps protect you and your kids if your spouse refuses to cooperate or fights the divorce.