As difficult as it was to make the decision to end your marriage, the thought of breaking this news to your kids may be the most difficult part. You may dread this conversation, but as the parent, it is critical to thoughtfully prepare for it as your approach could impact how your children handle the next phase of their lives. There are certain considerations that may be helpful as you prepare to have this talk with your kids and assist them as they navigate upcoming transitions.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to telling your kids that you are planning to divorce. The best way to handle this conversation depends on the ages of your children, their maturity levels and other factors that are unique to your situation. When preparing for this conversation, it will help to remember that the main priority is the best interests of your children above all else.
A difficult conversation about the future
One of the most important aspects of this conversation with your kids will be to ensure that they feel loved and secure. Regardless of how you currently feel about your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, it may be beneficial to have this conversation together. Some helpful considerations that may prove useful as you tell your kids about your divorce include the following:
- Plan what you will say – Think through the details you will share and how you will explain what is happening, as well as the timing and location of the conversation.
- Have the conversation together – It may be beneficial for the children if both of their parents speak to them together, presenting a united front and demonstrating respect for each other.
- Avoid placing blame – When talking with your children, avoid pointing fingers or placing blame on the other spouse, regardless of what happened or how you feel in the moment.
- Give details – Explain to your kids what they can expect over the next few weeks and months regarding how they can expect the divorce to change their everyday lives, living arrangements and more.
- Provide reassurance – Give your kids reassurance that both parents still love and support them, regardless of what is happening with their divorce. Kids need to feel secure during this time.
By preparing well for this conversation, you may be able to better help your New Jersey family face the divorce and navigate the inevitable changes they will experience. Your approach to this talk can set the tone for your kids and prepare them for what is ahead.