Preparing to break the news to your kids that you’re divorcing their other parent? Feeling insecure about how to broach the subject? Wondering how much to share? How your children will react? How to handle their questions? How to deal with your special circumstances? What the experts suggest?
Well you’re not alone.
Talking about divorce to your children is tough. You don’t want to make mistakes you will regret, especially in terms of the effects of divorce on children.
There are many common mistakes parents make at this time. Learn four of the most important ones so you can avoid them.
* Pressuring children to make choices. Most kids feel torn when asked to choose between their parents. Don’t put them in that position.
* Neglecting to tell your kids that they are not at fault. Don’t assume your children understand that they are victims in your divorce. Remind them frequently that they bare no blame in any way related to your divorce – even and especially if you are fighting with their other parent about them.
* Sharing information only adults should be aware of. Parents often do this to bond with their children or try to win them over. It creates a burden that children shouldn’t have to bare. Talk to adults about adult issues.
* Using your children as spies. Don’t ask and expect your kids to tell you secrets about their other parent’s life and home. It makes them feel uncomfortable and puts enormous pressure on them. They’ll resent you for it.
Fortunately you can reach out to many different professionals to help you if you’re not positive about how best to approach your children. Speak to a divorce mediator or see a therapist who specializes in this subject. Find an attorney who practices Collaborative Law which will result in more positive, cooperative outcomes. Seek the advice of parenting coaches, school counselors, clergy and other professionals. Don’t forget the many valuable books and articles on this topic.
Whatever you do, prepare yourself in advance when talking to your children. Be aware of the impact of your words on their innocent psyches. Avoid the mistakes we have discussed. Think before you leap and give your family a sound foundation on which to face the changes ahead with security, compassion and love.