I’m unsure about how to tell our children about the divorce, and I’m worried I’ll say the wrong thing. What’s the best way?
Unfortunately, some things are simply out of your control. Life brings change and hardships. People change. No matter what happened, you now find yourself considering a divorce. There is nothing easy about getting a divorce. Most couples find this time of their lives to be worse than coping with a death in the family. The range of emotions that you may feel is quite painful. It is not uncommon to feel a deep sense of loss or failure.
How you talk to your children about the divorce will depend upon their ages and development. Changes in your children’s everyday lives, such as a change of residence or one parent leaving the home, are far more important to them. Information about legal proceedings and meetings with lawyers are best kept among adults.
I advise my clients to meet with a counselor to help guide them through the process of talking with their children about the new changes. In my experience, simpler answers are best for young children. Avoid giving them more information than they need. Use the adults in your life as a source of support to meet your own emotional needs.
After the initial discussion, keep the door open for your children to discuss the divorce and their feelings with a therapist. Acknowledge their feelings and offer support. Please, do not disparage your spouse, no matter how tempting or warranted. Always assure them that the divorce is not their fault and that they are still loved by both you and your spouse, regardless of the divorce.