When you and your spouse decide to divorce, you are not only making this big decision for you, but you are also making it for your entire family – including your kids. Kids do not have much (if any) say in this decision but are affected significantly. Deciding how to communicate with them about the upcoming change related to divorce is a critical step in the process of helping them cope. Below are some tips for communicating calmly and effectively with your children of all ages about divorce:
1. Be honest: Trying to hide the news is never easy with kids. They are very in tune with your emotions and may even suspect you are angry or upset at them if you are not honest about the news. Make sure that you sit down and talk to them (depending on their age) so that you can communicate directly what this will mean for them and your family. Encourage them to ask any questions that you have a follow-up with them regularly to see how they are doing.
2. Tell them how much you love them: Reassurance is a really important factor when it comes to communication about a big family change like divorce. It may sound like a small thing but remind them how much they are loved by both parents and that the decision to divorce is not their fault.
3. Talk to them with your ex if possible: To the extent it is possible, try to present a united front to your kids. One way to do this is to talk to your children together about the decision to divorce. You will continue to co-parent your kids long after the divorce is final, so showing the kids that you can work together will go a long way toward reassuring them of their future.
4. Do not say negative things about your ex: Make sure that you do not fall into the habit of speaking negatively about your ex, their other parent. While you may be ready to move on, they are still connected to both of you and negative talk will make the adjustment more difficult.
5. Communicate a sense of calm: When you talk to your children about your divorce, their natural reaction will be to worry about you. So, when you talk to them try to communicate in a calm and reassuring way.
Support During The Divorce Process
Johnson Mediation can help your family navigate the divorce process from start to finish. We provide divorce mediation and co-parenting support resources that can help you put your children first. For more information about our services, call 952-401-7599.