Plan It Out
Plan the conversation for a time when you will be available afterwards, a weekend typically works best for this. This is a vital time to setside any personal issues with your soon-to-be-ex and both sit down to discuss divorce and what your family plans will be. Choose a quiet and comfortable place where your children feel safe/happy. Have a plan on what you’re going to say.
If you are unable to tell the children with both parents present, just remember the very latest you can wait will be the night before your soon-to-be-ex is served with the divorce petition. Don’t wait until after s/he is served.
Keep it Age Appropriate
Depending on the children’s ages and developmental levels, each child will process this information in different ways and possibly different times. It’s important to communicate this in a clear manner that is short and to the point. The goal is to remain truthful and not to divulge anything that is not absolutely necessary that they know.
Make it personal and be intentional about what is communicated
Do communicate love and team
Don’t tell them anything detail wise or about the other side
Listen and allow feelings
Reiterate that they are loved and allow them to feel upset and maybe angry or confused. Be prepared to allow them to feel hard feelings, maybe for the first time. Be intentional about validating their feelings, whatever they are.
While parents have the ability to take care of themselves mentally and emotionally be seeking support and help, children don’t always have the words. Consider yourself a non-paid counselor for your children during this process; if you aren’t prepared to do this we encourage you to seek outside help whether that be professional or through a ministry program. Either way, watch them for behavior changes and be proactive about seeking professional help if your child needs it.
It is crucial that parents continuously reiterate to their children that they can always be approached to discuss family changes and the divorces’ effects on them.