Although it may be a very difficult and testing time for both you and your partner as you are separating and about to go through divorce proceedings, it can also be very difficult for your children.
However, one of the most difficult parts of a divorce is the moment you tell your children the news, with both you and your children set to face a tough time.
With this in mind, we have created a list of the best ways to help your children to deal with the news, to help minimise the impact that the news will have on them.
Tell your Children at the Right Time
A big mistake that parents sometimes make is informing their children of their divorce too soon, which then involves the children much more than they should have to be.
The best thing to do as a parent would be to formulate a plan for what you are going to say, how you are going to say it and ultimately when might be the best time to do so.
A big part of this would be to make sure that your children understand that they aren’t the reason behind the divorce, as this may well be one of their first thoughts.
They may begin to think that they could have done things differently to make their parents stay together, and it is essential that you make sure that they don’t think this way.
You and your former partner should ensure that you have everything in place for the divorce, such as a new home for the parent moving out and the divorce having already been filed, before telling your children.
This is because you don’t want there to be a big period of time before anything really happens, particularly as this can be very confusing and may provide false hope to your children.
As well as this, making it a joint effort will show your children that they will always have full support and love from the both of you, regardless of what happens.
Pay Close Attention to your Children
Once you have told your children about the impending divorce, try to pay extra close attention to them to monitor what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are behaving.
The news of your divorce may well have a negative impact upon them, and if it does, you will be able to notice it and look at ways to help them. Most children adapt well to changes that happen as a result of a divorce, but there is almost certainly going to be a difficult period of transition and you need to stay on top of things to notice any impact.
Your children’s teacher could also help with this, as if you mention to them the situation, then they will certainly keep an eye on your child and inform you of anything out of the ordinary.
If you do notice any changes and you aren’t able to work through them with your children, you may want to consider professional help, as this could really help your child to recover and will benefit them in the long run.
You as a parent may also benefit from professional help, as it may enable you to deal with any issues that you may face with your child’s behaviour and reactions.
Allow your Children to be Emotional but don’t give them Extra Reason to
It is very normal for children to be emotional when they learn that their parents are going to be getting a divorce, and often one of the most prominent emotions is anger.
Children will typically look for somebody to blame, and if that person isn’t immediately themselves, it will most likely be you as their parents.
It is important for you to allow them to be angry and to be hurt, but make sure that you don’t get too upset and get into conflict with them by going into any details, just simply maintain that the decision was a joint one between you and your former partner.
Something that you shouldn’t do is giving your children extra reason to be upset by saying things that may upset them or may trigger their anger again.
Telling them details of an affair or about what the other partner did or didn’t do is only likely to antagonise them and cause more issues.
About Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith is the head of family law at K J Smith Solicitors, a specialist family law firm who deal with a wide range of issues including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships and prenuptial agreements.