Divorce can be extremely hard on children. As a parent, having to tell your children that you are getting a divorce will likely be one of the most difficult things you will do. It is important to remember that even if the divorce doesn’t seem like it would come as a surprise – for example, if you are already separated or have been arguing a lot – your child is likely clinging onto hope and the shock can still be just as severe as if the child had no clue this was in the cards.
How you talk to your children about the divorce is of immense importance. Experts state that almost all children remember this conversation vividly for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of the shock and trauma a child feels during the moment they are told, many go on to experience pain when the conversation is recalled, and this pain is said to never dull in some children. Because this moment can be so traumatic for a child, it is very important to ensure that you take all measures to have the conversation in the best way you can.
Present the situation from equal standpoints
As parents, when you are sitting down with your child to have the conversation, it is very important that you present the divorce as if it is an entirely joint decision. Try and use the word “we” instead of “I” and try and make them feel as if you are both coming from equal standpoints. It is also important in these situations to make sure your child knows that this is not their fault. Even if the decision to split isn’t from both sides, it is important for your child’s emotional being and their relationship with both of you that they see this as a united decision. Displaying any animosity towards the other parent will only make this more difficult for your child.
Have the conversation as a family and follow up with each child
It is best to have the initial conversation as a family and prior to following up with each child individually. However, this can be dependent upon your children. If you believe that one of your more mature children will take it harder and react more emotionally, it may be best to have the conversation separately so that the younger child doesn’t experience more emotional trauma of seeing their elder sibling’s reaction. One of the best decisions you can make as a parent in times like these is to consider going to family counseling in Carrolton. Speaking to a professional third party will calm the storm and make it easier for everyone to get on the same page.
Plan out what you are going to say to your children
It is best to be prepared in your dialogue before initiating the conversation. Make a list of bullet points of the things you find are most important to address and also prepare yourself for what you are going to say to your child’s reaction. Never discredit your child’s emotions when having the conversation, but simply react with only positive reinforcement and love. Try not to expect any particular emotion, but be prepared for a mixture of emotions and how you are both going to react to them.
Try to display an openness for any questions your child may have
Communication is a two-way street, and it is very important that your child is able to express how they feel as well as ask questions. Remember that children have more difficulty processing their emotions, and you must remain open-minded in these situations. As the child processes this over time, you will likely need to have several more conversations with them about it.
If you are considering marriage therapy in Carrolton as a possible solution, here at Lifeworks we want to help. Our caring and trusted team of counselors specializes in all types of family counseling and we have helped many families find peace. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.