Breaking the news of divorce to your children may fill you and your spouse with anxiety. While you can predict that most children will have an adverse reaction, you cannot expect their specific response. According to Psychology Today, the conversation is almost always painful, but you can make it an easier, less stressful experience for everyone involved.
When it comes to the divorce talk, you need to make a plan and stick to it as much as possible.
Work with your spouse
Often, divorcing couples already have difficulty communicating. However, the best possible outcome for your children is to see the two of you come together for their best interests. When you work together, you show your kids that the two of you have not changed your roles regarding them. You are still the parents and still have their best interests in mind.
You and your spouse can rely on one another to make a plan too. Try to decide what you want to say and when you want to say it. Never break the news on a particular day or just before school or bedtime. You should choose a time where the children have little to do afterward. They deserve a chance to process the information and to ask questions.
Be the voice of reassurance
Your children will feel a lot of mixed reactions, depending on their ages and emotional maturity. You have a job to show them that they have no fault in the divorce. Some children will take the blame. Instead, create a blameless narrative. Even if your spouse is the reason you want to separate, your children do not need to hear the story. When children hear bad stories about their parents, they may internalize it.
Remember that all reactions are normal because divorce is a significant life change. Be patient and understanding of your children’s reactions.