Going through a divorce is never easy. And telling your kids that you and your spouse are ending your marriage ranks as one of the most difficult steps in the process.
According to Deborah Moskovitch, a divorce consultant and contributor to the Huffington Post, too few divorcing parents actually sit down with their children to fully explain why the marriage is ending. She also writes that they often don't encourage their children to ask questions about the divorce.
The truth is that many parents say little to nothing to their children about the divorce. While parents may be thinking that they are sparing their children grief, this is not the right approach. It actually leaves children confused and sometimes angry.
Fortunately, Moskovitch outlines the steps parents should consider taking when explaining to their children why they are divorcing.
First, she recommends that parents try to settle on an interim plan for what the children's living arrangements will be before talking to them about the split. This plan might change later, but it at least lets the children know that you've put thought into how this divorce will impact their lives.
Next, Moskovitch recommends that parents consider telling their children how important they are to them. Specifically, they should tell them that the divorce had nothing to do with them, that the end of the marriage doesn't mean that they love them any less, and that they will still be their mom and dad once the divorce is finalized.
Finally, Moskovitch recommends that parents should give their children the opportunity to ask questions and, more importantly, not be surprised if their children are initially angry with them. This is a normal reaction. Many children will need to grieve the end of their parents' marriage.
It's not easy talking with children about divorce. But the alternative, not talking about it, is even worse.
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To learn more about dissolution of marriage, child custody, or other divorce-related issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The Huffington Post, "How to tell your kids you're divorcing" March 23, 2012