Tell Your Kids You’re Getting Divorced

Edited by Seighart, Charmed, Reema, Anonymous and 3 others

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One of the most difficult things to say to a kid is to tell him that his parents are going to separate. It doesn't end with breaking the news to him; you also have to tell him who he will be living with and when he's going to see his dad or mom after the separation. It's all overwhelming news for a kid, or even to a teenager. The way you tell it to him may make or break his reaction. How can you even start to say it?

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First and foremost, there will never be a best way to tell a kid that his parents are getting a divorce. It may be difficult to determine whether to tell the kid during the process of applying for the divorce or to wait for the court decision. However, if the couple's decision is final, it would be best to tell the kid prior to the arrival of the papers. Here are some helpful tips on how to tell your children about it:

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  1. 1
    The couple should talk first and agree on what to say.
    Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to ask your parents about something that would cause them to raise their voice and argue? This is one of those times. This time, however, you will prepare what you have to say, and no matter what your child says, the decision is final. Make sure that you do not argue in front of the child as this will only cause further confusion on his part. Plan how the separation will go, including who will live with whom and other changes. Try to anticipate the questions that the children will have.
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  2. 2
    Hold a family meeting and make sure that everyone is present.
    Both partners should be present during this time. If the kids are old enough and aware of the couple's frequent fighting, it would be a good opening line. Avoid blaming each other, and accepting the blame. As much as possible, avoid talking about the relationship. Be firm and direct with your answers to your kids' questions.
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  3. 3
    Prepare your children for the changes that are about to come.
    The children will probably ask about changes like who will they be living with, how will they see their dad or their mom, who will bring them to school and the like. Be prepared to answer them. This is why the couple should spend ample time to talk about how they will deliver the news and anticipate the questions that the kids will throw at them. Make sure that your answers are apt for your kids' ages.
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  4. 4
    Reassure the children that the divorce is no one's fault.
    Point out that you as parents are both adults and understand that these things happen. In addition, if you or your partner is still emotional, it is best not to tell the children yet. Make sure that your emotions are controlled when you speak to your kids about the separation.
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  5. 5
    Invite someone you know, or who your kids will trust.
    Not every child will understand the news of their parent's divorce right away. Some kids need to deal and cope with their own shock of hearing the news. Make sure that they will not run away to someone you don't trust by having someone suitable already present in your house. This way, any questions that they need to ask you after the initial shock will be addressed right then and there at home.
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What to do After the Divorce

When you've addressed all your kids' questions and have assured them about all their worries, you will need to be on guard and be sensitive about your kids' behavior. Make sure that you:

  1. 1
    Remain consistent with the reasons for the divorce.
    Children will be asking different questions days after the news. Do not give the children any false hopes of you and your partner getting back together. If you are still hopeful for the relationship to mend, do not make this apparent to your child. He may try and do things to make you and your partner get back together, which will eventually hurt him emotionally, should he fail in his plans.
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  2. 2
    Shower your children with attention and love.
    During the first few months after the divorce or separation, children will either demand more attention from you or try their best to be independent. Be sensitive enough to assist them when they need help, and to leave them to discover things on their own when appropriate. If a child's anger is directed at you, do not try to explain what happened or why the divorce happened. When the child calms down, take time to talk and let him vent what he feels. Sometimes all the child wants is for someone to listen to what he thinks.
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  3. 3
    Continue your daily activities.
    Your marriage did not last, but the kids are there and the chores will keep coming. Plan your daily routine so that there will be ample time for you to interact with your kids.
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  4. 4
    Observe their behavior after the divorce.
    Each human being is unique. As such, each will use a different coping mechanism. A kid may continue with life as if nothing happened, while others will sulk, and still others may try to bring more attention to themselves, either by excelling or doing poorly in school. If you have young children that go to school, try to partner with the teachers in observing the child's behavior. This way, you can easily detect any depression or maladaptive behavior.
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Categories : Noindexed pages | Parenting

Recent edits by: Lynn, estrella sacragon, Anonymous

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