Breaking the News of Divorce to Your Children

children, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhether you have already started divorce proceedings or you have just recently decided to call it quits, telling your children about your decision is always difficult. Parents worry that their children will hate them for splitting up, consider the break-up to be their fault, or be unable to adapt to the new circumstances. The good news is that children are amazingly resilient and adaptable, but there are some guidelines you should follow when discussing your divorce with your children.

  • If possible, tell the children with your spouse. Although your spouse is probably not someone you wish to be around during this tumultuous time, presenting a united front and telling the children together is often the best way. By sitting down as a family to break the news, you are showing your children that although things are going to change, they will continue to have the love and support of both parents;
  • Allow your children to ask questions. Older children will understand more easily than younger ones but children all ages may react to the news differently. Some children will immediately ask questions while others will be hesitant to say anything until they have time to process the information;
  • Be honest, but be careful not to overshare. Children do not need to know all of the details of why the marriage ended. More mature children may need additional information to help them process their feelings, but, in general, most only need to know that their parents have decided it would be better for everyone involved if you and your spouse no longer live together;
  • Never put down your spouse in front of you children. It may be tempting to blame the other parent for causing the breakup, especially if a breach of trust occurred, but doing this only adds confusion and resentment to the situation. No matter how angry you may be, saying negative things about your spouse in your children’s presence can create serious confusion for them;
  • Reassure them that the breakup is not their fault. It is not uncommon for children to feel responsible for their parents’ marriage ending. Children often hear and see more than adults give them credit for. Your child may have heard bits and pieces of arguments and concluded that he or she is the cause of the marital struggles; and
  • Give children an idea of what to expect in the future. If one parent is going to move out of the home, let the children know this now. Try to make these transitions smooth and give children some warning before big changes. You may not have all the details of custody arrangements yet, but telling the kids that they will see both parents separately from now on is a good start.

A DuPage County Attorney Can Help

If you are headed for a divorce and are wondering about the best way to talk to your children regarding your decision, an experienced Aurora divorce lawyer can offer guidance. At our firm, we have helped many families navigate the difficult process of divorce, allowing them to come out happier and healthier on the other side. Call [[phone]] for a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.



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