Before Your Break The News:
Consult A Specialist
Before you sit down with your children, first make sure you find a child or family therapist who works with children the same ago. They can help you prepare to break the news, work out what to say and offer a kind ear to your children if they need it afterwards.
Plan Out & Agree On What You’re Going To Say
It’s never a good idea to go into these situations blind Instead, sit down with your soon to be ex and plan out what you plan to say. You can write a script, bullet points or even just having it straight in your heads can help. In an ideal world you will be able to work through this with you ex to make this as easy for the children as possible, but if you can’t, try to make sure you have the same story when you tell them on your own.
Choose The Right Time & Place To Break The News
In the middle of a restaurant on a family outing is not the right time to break this kind of news. Instead try to pick a time and place where the children will feel safe, and it’s just you and them. Try to avoid a conflict with important dates or deadlines (e.g. a child’s birthday, before a big exam or other important occasion).
During Your Discussion:
Tell Them Together
It’s important that you try to sit down with your children and tell them together. This might mean putting aside any negative feelings for a short while to make sure you are acting in your children’s best interests. By doing this you are showing them that even though your marriage is ending you can still get along as parents, they will still have a family, and you won’t be dividing them.
Play Fair – Don’t Blame Or Argue
You should make sure that you don’t bicker, argue or disagree with each other when you’re talking to your children. Don’t blame each other or try to get the children to side with either of you. This creates a hostile environment and is unfair to your children. Instead stay positive, tell the children that they have 2 people who love them very much.
Be Honest & Realistic
The most important thing to do is make sure you are being honest with your children. Bear in mind their ages when you decide what to tell them – details of lurid details or sordid reasons behind your split might not be appropriate for them to know. Instead, tell them as much as they need to know, and no more. If you haven’t been able to hide the discord in your marriage, then it is best to acknowledge this and explain the reasons behind it.
Make Sure They Know It’s Not Their Fault
One of the most common results of divorce is a child thinking it is their fault that their parents split up. Make sure you reinforce the fact that they are not to blame for your split, and no matter what happens you will still love them. You will need to keep reinforcing this with your word and behaviour after the conversation is over, and comfort them whenever they need it.
You shouldn’t feel guilty if your child cries during this conversation. You aren’t being mean by discussing this, or kicking a puppy. You are actually being kind by being open and honest with them, but sometimes kindness hurts.
Guillaumes Solicitors are professional family law experts based in Weybridge, Surrey. If you require our divorce specialists to assist you in your proceedings, Guillaumes Solicitors are on hand to support you. Contact us today to find out more.