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Breaking the news of a divorce to the kids

Telling friends and family about the breakup is part of a divorce for every couple in Missouri. Choosing how and when to tell people about the split is an important decision to make, but there is one audience for this news that couples should not put off informing: the kids.

For divorcing couples who are also parents, telling children about the impending divorce is often an intimidating and worry inducing task. A divorce will likely impact their lives in many ways, so it is important that parents plan how and when they will share this news with children. As you prepare for how to have this conversation with your kids, consider some tips and resources for determining your strategy.

First and foremost, though, ensure the safety of all members of the family is the top priority when preparing for this conversation. Don’t compromise anyone’s wellbeing and safety for the sake of a conversation. That said, here are some strategies for parents who need to inform children about an upcoming divorce.

Work together when possible

The dynamics of your family are about to change in a major way, but they likely will still include all the members in some capacity. Shared or joint custody arrangements continue to rise as the predominant choice for families, so consider this as you prepare to have the conversation about divorce.

If you can, work with your soon to be ex to come up with a plan for breaking the news. Children may benefit from hearing the news from both parents as it lessens the blow of the impending split. You can model a cooperative and civil relationship from the beginning of this new family dynamic.

Plot out your talking points

The only thing a person can control in a conversation is themselves. You can’t guarantee a reaction from the children during this conversation, but you and your co-parent can prepare your key talking points as you plan for breaking the news.

What are the immediate concerns? Children may wonder where everyone will live, how their schedule will change, what this means for the family and other important questions. Try to plan for the logistical questions and have those answers at the ready. The more clarity you can provide, the less of discombobulated the kids may feel after hearing the news.

Seek outside assistance

No parent ever wants to share upsetting or life-changing news with their child. You are not the first person to have to do so, though. Consider the wealth of resources available as you prepare to share the news of a divorce with the kids. Child psychologists and family counselors as well as family law experts can provide insight, guidance and talking points as you prepare. There is no need to go it alone, so seek and utilize the appropriate resources for parents.

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