I’m getting divorced

If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, there are some things that you can do to make your decision easier for your children.

Don’t wait until one of you is going out the door to tell your child. Once the decision is reached, the two of you should put aside differences and tell your child together. Do this at home where you can talk quietly and after you both have reached a state of calm. If you have more than one child, tell all of the children together so they feel a sense of support from their siblings.

Children should be told of the decision in a straightforward manner so they realize the decision has been made and is final. Children will most likely want to know why, but they should not be privy to all of the painful personal reasons. All they need to know is that this decision was not made lightly or without deep consideration, but that the reasons are a private matter.

Tell your children that you realize the decision will affect them, but that you want them to know that both parents will be available to help them through the transition. There should then be a discussion of living arrangements, including where the departing parent will live and how often the children will see this parent. Above all, show a united front to each child. Never say negative things about your spouse and never ask children to take sides.

Adapted from:
How to Talk to Your Kids About Really Important Things:
Specific Questions and Answers and Useful Things to Say

Charles E. Schaefer, Ph.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, M.Ed.
Jossey-Bass Publishers
San Francisco
1994

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