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What is the Best Way to Tell Our Children We are Getting Divorced?

Posted on in Divorce

joliet divorce lawyerEven under the best of circumstances, Illinois parents getting divorced with young children at home face a number of difficult challenges. In addition to the loss of the relationship, parents must figure out how to tell the children about the divorce and attempt to help them process their emotions.

Professionals in divorce and child psychology have developed strategies for minimizing the negative impacts of divorce on children and families. With careful planning and a commitment to avoid blame and hostility, parents can help children through the transition so they may continue to have healthy, loving relationships with both adults. 

Practice the Conversation Together First

Experts suggest planning and practicing what you will share with your children ahead of time. Choosing the right words can be difficult in the heat of the moment. A practiced conversation can help parents avoid conflict and strong emotional reactions, allowing them to focus on the child’s reaction and needs. 

Talk to All the Children at Once

Telling children separately about divorce may give them the chance to pass along incorrect information to their siblings. Instead, tell your children together and allow them to support each other. Refrain from discouraging any of their reactions, and simply allow them to express how they feel. Explain that this is only the beginning of the conversation, and let them know they can discuss their feelings in private with you at any time. 

Seek an Age-Appropriate Explanation and Do Not Assign Blame

Divorce is an adult problem. Telling your children why you are getting divorced should be simple and transparent, but should not burden them with your relationship issues. You can explain that people who are married should want to live together and be able to compromise, but that you and your spouse are unable to do so. You could also tell them that people change and or decide they want different things. No matter the explanation you give, express your commitment to your children and let them know you will continue to raise them as a team.

Set Clear Expectations

Let your children know what will change and what will stay the same. If one parent is going to move out, talk about when, where, and how often your children will see them. Set expectations ahead of time and let children ask questions and give their input. If you do not know something, be honest and let them know when they can expect to have an answer. 

Consult with a Joliet, IL Divorce Attorney

Even when it is the right thing to do, deciding to get divorced can be heartbreaking. Understandably, parents want to protect their children from the worst impacts of divorce. An experienced Will County divorce attorney with Reeder & Brown, P.C. can help parents manage the legal aspects of divorce so they can give their attention to family matters and help their children throughout the process. Schedule a consultation with one of our skilled and compassionate attorneys today. Call us at 815-768-4800

 

Sources:

https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/getting-divorce-children 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/better-divorce/202002/how-tell-your-kids-you-re-getting-separation-or-divorce 

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