How to Tell Your Kids about Your Divorce in the Least Damaging Way
The ink hasn’t dried on the divorce papers yet, and now you are left with the herculean task of spilling the beans with your kids. Anticipating tough questions is the least that you can expect when informing kids about your divorce. Your little ones will not be able to tune in with what you are going through. As a result, some kids may respond with a great deal of rage and resentment, no matter how well you raise them.
It’s an emotional turmoil for them as well. Therefore, they might use emotions as a defense mechanism to deal with the situation. Difficult as it may be, how do you tell your kids about your divorce in the least damaging ways?
Be Open with Them
More than often, parents leave many unanswered questions on the tables. They end up being a flop when it comes to explaining the reason for their separation. As a result, kids fail to comprehend the situation clearly. Sometimes, they take the blame on themselves.
Moreover, they tend to believe that all relationships have a sad ending. Therefore, they no longer feel secure. For them, there’s nothing well-functioning in life anymore. By letting them be a silent spectator to the event, you could only worsen their emotional state of health.
Agreed, that it’s not easy to open the doors for such a topic because some of the reasons for divorce can be too shameful or awful to describe. However, hiding things can only make matters worse for everyone involved because neglecting your child’s emotional needs will leave them struggling for years to come.
For kids, it’s a never ending tale. They keep working on understanding things throughout their childhood and beyond. So, you might want to touch base on the topic more than once. After all, an explanation for a 6-year-old has to be different from a 14-year-old. So, give them the liberty to open up to get the facts right whenever they feel the need to do so.
Keep it Clean
A nasty divorce can leave you in a bitter state of mind. You could be a hostage to grief and anger for a long period of time. Explaining divorce to kids from the standpoint of grief and anger can conjure more emotional turmoil in their lives. Remember, your kids had front row tickets for the messy show. They have already seen and heard enough.
So, don’t take twisted thrills from bad mouthing your ex. Using foul words against your ex won’t help the situation. Therefore, keep your differences to yourself and set aside your emotions while interacting with the kids.
Moreover, it’s recommended that you don’t approach your kids when you feel vulnerable and angry. Also, don’t approach them after your second or third glass of whiskey because you might spit out venom. Before you know, you could be throwing abuses in rapid successions like a firework display only to regret later on.
If necessary, hire a compassionate therapist who understands your needs to keep things clean. The hired professional will help you keep your head cool while you are explaining your perceptions about the whole situation. Basically, ditch any kind of foul play and keep things clean.
Reassurance: Things Will Work Out
Kids should be assured of their place in their parent’s life. No matter what happens or where we live, kids should know that both their parents will always be there for them. You can explain, “Mom and Dad won’t stay together any longer so that they stop fighting, but we both love you and will always continue to do so.”
Remind them that they are tied together by birth, and no one will replace their real dad and real mom. Make them feel confident that their parents will still work together as a team to best protect and guide them.
Their day to day schedule may change quite a bit, but assure them that things will eventually work out. It’s normal for them to scream, cry or even slam doors. Try to read their clues and if needed give them some time and space to sink in the news, and offer them a reassuring hug.
Your care and support will go a long way in helping them carry a lighter mental burden after this major life-changing event.