How do you tell your kids about an unavoidable divorce, a major change in their young lives, and when do you tell them? I find it best to gather all the children in one room and have you and your spouse tell them together so that the kids can see that their parents can still get along for now.
Stay positive and try to keep any hurt feelings or blame out of the conversation. Tell the kids about their new living arrangements, any planned moves out of state, or any new schools they may attend.
Then as the divorce process moves along you can give the children more information on how their lives will be different, and of course better.
Remember that children are feeling the added stress of the Covid-19 pandemic so telling them about a pending divorce should be done with extra care.
How the talk goes will be different depending on how old your children are. For this article I am focusing on children who are pre-teens or younger. Through working with many clients as a divorce attorney in Atlanta I have found that the best approach is for mom and dad to talk beforehand and agree on what to say, and how best to say it. Then both parents should sit down together with their children and give them their full attention. Let them ask as many questions as they want.
I have heard it said that since the divorce rate in America is high, your kids will have at least one friend from a single parent household, so a divorce isn’t as shocking as it used to be. But children usually blame themselves for anything that happens in their lives and divorce is no exception.
Put Your Children’s Needs First
Emotions will naturally want to spill out, including unhelpful ones, so I recommend that both spouses focus on the needs of their children first. Kids want security and routine, and they will want to know where mom or dad is going to live, and how often can they see both parents.
Before you ask the kids to gather for a family talk, I suggest that you and your spouse decide ahead of time who is going to speak first. Usually, this person will be the one who is filing for divorce, but the other spouse should be supportive regardless of how they feel about the breakup. The goal here is to reassure the kids that they will be safe and loved even though the living arrangements are changing.
Remember to tell your kids that this is a permanent change so that they do not hold out hope for a reunion of mom and dad.
I am available anytime to talk to you about how to file for a divorce in Georgia and answer any questions you have.