For parents, it would be difficult to find a more challenging task than telling their children that they’re about to separate or divorce. With emotions already running high, some parents put off this emotional discussion as long as possible.
With the help of the California Court system, in this article we’ll share suggestions on how to initiate that conversation with your children.
How Your Family Can Benefit From Divorce
As we noted in an earlier entry, divorce doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing for children. In that article, we shared a very important quote from Dr. Joan B. Kelly, former director of the Northern California Mediation Center:
“If parents in high-conflict marriages can divorce and walk away from that conflict, then the kids probably will end up with a significantly improved home environment.”
Who should tell the children?
Both parents should be in the room when the children are told about the decision to separate or divorce. The benefit of this is two-fold:
- With both parents involved, the child will be better able to understand that he/she are not being abandoned; and
- Having both of you present will (hopefully) negate the chances of one parent blaming the other.
Where should we tell the children?
Comfort is essential when you tell your children, so choose an environment they are familiar with and where they feel safe.
Do your best to make sure you’re not delivering the news when you’re upset or anxious.
Also, select a quiet time of the day or night when distraction will be minimal.
What should we tell the children?
First off, you should understand and commit to the idea that there will most likely be additional conversations with your children about the separation or divorce after they hear the news for the first time. The decision is one that will most likely cause confusion for your child, so be patient and answer honestly. whatever questions they have
The key is to emphasize that they (your children) are not the reason for the decision to separate or divorce. Make sure they understand that:
- They are not at fault;
- They’re not alone because thousands of children each year experience divorce; and
- You and your soon-to-be-ex are the children’s parents forever.
Things you should NOT say include:
- Too many details about the reasons for the separation or divorce;
- Blaming the other parent;
- Making statements that will give your children false hope of reconciliation; or
- Telling the children to keep it a secret, because they will need the support from their extended family and friends.
What questions should I anticipate from my children?
If they don’t ask you immediately upon hearing the news, questions you can eventually expect from your children include:
- Will we have to move?
- Whom will I live with?
- How often will I see you?
It’s important that you allow your children to express their feelings and emotions.
Are You A Father Scared Facing Divorce? Call The Men’s Legal Center in San Diego
Divorce is rarely an easy thing, and when children are involved, extra care and patience must be observed.
Here at The Men’s Legal Center, we’re committed to providing legal expertise and representation for men in Family Court in San Diego and the surrounding areas. We represent husbands, fathers and non-custodial parents alike.
To contact the Men’s Legal Center, call (619) 234-3838 or send an email.