Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/divorce-separation-relationship
Even though the US divorce rate is swiftly declining, thousands of them still occur every year. On top of that, the fact that the numbers are looking better is hardly going to be a comfort to families that haven’t contributed to that decline. If you’re going through a split, it’s hard to know what to do next.
In particular, it’s the kids that take it harder than most, and it’s often hard for them to come to terms with the change. And part of this lands on you, the parents. The important bit rests in how you tell your kids, and how you convey your marital struggles to them. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but have it you must – and here’s how to do it effectively.
Choose your words carefully
Otherwise, your children may end up feeling like it’s their fault. Under no circumstances should you use words or phrases that could, to your kids, feel like blame. You need to keep your language clean, and free of insults, no matter how you feel about the situation.
Additionally, you shouldn’t tell them the reason why things are failing, either. No matter what that reason is, your child may find a way to link it back to them. Also, don’t pin the blame on one parent. Kids often see themselves as extensions of their mother or father, so blaming one is effectively blaming the child.
Make sure you come to terms with it yourself
If you feel angry, sad and confused, these emotions will likely come across when you sit down to chat to your children. If you aren’t fully in control of the situation yourself, how can you expect your kids to grasp it?
You must have reached a happy resolution before you inform your children. For your kids, the more cheerful the news, the better! Instead of ‘mommy and daddy are arguing all the time’ make it ‘mommy and daddy are just friends now’. This will make it easier for your children to understand, as well as making it easier for you to explain.
A process such as divorce mediation could help the two of you reach an amicable result quickly. Above all, don’t be hasty. This whole situation will take time to cool down, and only then should your kids be informed.
Let them know that things won’t change
Children love familiarity, so you have to make sure theirs stays intact. Use phrases like ‘we still love you’ and ‘we’ll both still see you every day’ (unless that’s not applicable). If you have a holiday coming up, stress that that holiday will still go ahead. If you tell them that very little will be changing, they’ll be more willing to accept the news.
Keep conversations brief
If you sit down and drone on for an hour, your children are likely to lose interest. On top of this, they may not be able to process so much information at once. As such, I’d recommend having two 20 minute conversations, or three 15 minute conversations. You have to get right to the heart of the matter and be as brief and concise as possible.