Even when it’s ultimately for the best, ending a long-term relationship can be a painful and complicated process for the separating spouses. For their child, however, a divorce is a devastating alteration to the only world they’ve ever known. You must be gentle and delicate when telling your child about your impending divorce.
A Unified Front
It may be difficult, but delivering the news to your child will require teamwork with your spouse. A unified front will retain your child’s sense of security and care as you deliver the information. Make sure to schedule a time when everyone can be present for the conversation. It’s best to have this conversation during a weekend so your child has time to process the information and ask additional questions as necessary. You can always talk to a family or child therapist if you need assistance in planning this discussion.
During the conversation, do not fight with your spouse or pressure your child to choose a side. Blame can’t be a part of this conversation. It’s important to reassure your child that the divorce is not their fault.
Have a Plan
It will take your child time to process this life change. Be supportive and maintain their daily routine as best as possible. This likely isn’t a conversation you will have just one time. Be gentle and supportive as your child works to understand their new world. The divorce will be a challenge for you, but you must always be patient and comforting to your child.
There are some preemptive decisions you can make that will add to your child’s routine prior to the divorce settlement; for example, slowly implementing a custody or visitation schedule will make the change less alarming. You can also warn your child’s teachers so that they understand any personality changes that may occur in the classroom.