One of the most difficult steps of the divorce process is having to tell your children about your separation. Many parents put this step off for as long as possible to avoid hurting their kids. However, the way you approach this step will decide how your children are affected by your divorce and how their lives will be impacted afterward. Many children have experienced the stress of divorce. How they react all depends on their age, personality, the circumstances of your divorce, and most important of all, how you and your spouse handle your divorce in front of them. If you’re worried about the wellbeing of your children during your divorce, these are a few tips to help you guide them through this trying period.
1. Tell your kids about your divorce when you and your spouse are both ready
Although you and your spouse are separating, it does not mean that either of you stops being parents to your children, which is why any decision involving your kids should be done together. So, when it comes time to break the news to your children about your divorce, sit down together first and discuss how you would like the conversation to go. You should not explain every aspect of your divorce to your children, but be sure to give them enough information so they at least understand what is happening and why it’s happening. Assure your children that both parents love them, it is okay for the kids to love both parents and that the separation is not the kids’ fault. It is very important that the kids hear this message a few times so it sinks in.
2. Keep all heated and legal conversations private
We can all only dream of a perfect divorce, but there are bound to be a few arguments here and there. Try to keep in mind that the way you and your spouse interact with each other throughout your divorce will impact your children potentially for the rest of their lives. If you want to make your divorce easier for your kids, don’t argue in front of them and show your kids that even though their parents are separating, you are still working together to make things a little less difficult for everyone.
3. Do not use your kids for support
Your job as a parent is to be there for your kids, not the other way around. What many parents forget is that even though their divorce is difficult for them, it’s greatly affecting their kids as well. If you need to confide in someone about your divorce, seek out a close friend or family member you can talk to, but never let that person be your kid.
4. Encourage honesty and be there for them
Communication with your children is very important during this time. Depending on the age and personality of your child, this may be easier said than done for a lot of parents. Check-in with your kids often, and even if they are having a difficult time opening up to you, encourage them to talk to a close friend or if necessary, a therapist or counsellor.
5. Remember, we are all human
When our family needs us for support, many of us think that means we need to hide our emotions and be the ‘strong’ one. This isn’t necessarily true. It’s OK to be vulnerable sometimes. If your children know that both of their parents love them and you’ll always be there for them, then you’ve done your job right.
Changes of any kind can be difficult, but you and your family will eventually adjust to this change. If you would like to learn more about helping your children throughout your divorce, we have lots of helpful resources available on our website. At Galbraith Family Law, we understand what you are going through, and we can help you through the process of your divorce while eliminating as much stress as possible. To book a consultation with us, give us a call at one of our offices. Our client care team will listen to your story with a non-judgmental ear to be able to connect you with the right lawyer to get your family law issues resolved as quickly as possible.