Although you and your spouse may not agree about much anymore, you are both certain that the marriage doesn’t work. Despite your best intentions the time you got married and how much both of you love your children, you aren’t happy in your relationship anymore.
You know that divorce is inevitable, but you worry about what this will mean for your children. Many loving parents delay moving on in their lives out of concern for their children. You can end things with your spouse while also minimizing the stress the situation causes for your children.
How should you talk about the divorce with your kids?
The announcement should be a family conversation
Unless you are in a scenario involving domestic violence where you have to leave immediately, talking about the matter as a family before any big changes take place is often the best approach. When you and your ex sit down together with the children, you can explain that you have decided to divorce.
How much you tell the children at first will depend on how mature they are. Most children won’t need to know the details of why your relationship isn’t working anymore. Instead, they just need to know that you have grown apart and that you believe the family will be happier split into two households.
It’s important not to place blame or talk negatively about each other, even if marital misconduct like adultery led to the divorce. Make sure the children know that the divorce is not their fault and that both of you still love them deeply.
Keep talk about your ex positive
There is a time and a place for you to explore your feelings about the divorce and your ex’s behavior, such as in counseling or a support group. Your children should not be sounding boards for your emotions or expected to act as a therapist or a go-between for parents in the middle of a conflict.
When you talk about your ex and their time with the children, keep your attitude positive so that your children feel positive about maintaining that relationship. When you have to interact with your ex, try to avoid conflicts when the children are present.
If you are mindful in your approach to talking with your children and interacting with your ex, the situation will be less stressful than it might be in other circumstances. Planning carefully when you intend to file for divorce with minor children will reduce the damage the divorce may cause.