Divorce is an emotionally-challenging life experience that, unfortunately, many couples go through. Regardless of the number of years that you have been married, recognizing that the promise of “till death do us part” has been broken can be devastating. This is especially true for those who share children together. Divorce does not just affect the married couple’s relationship, but also each parent’s relationship with their children. This decision does not need to have a damaging impact on your relationship as a parent, however, and the way that you choose to discuss this decision with your kids can be a key factor in the ramifications of your divorce.
Breaching the Topic
When you and your spouse have made the definitive decision to move forward with your divorce, it is important to be upfront with your children from the start. If they find out about your divorce through the grapevine before you have had the chance to talk to them, this can be damaging to your relationship and their trust in you. If you and your spouse are filing for divorce, it is highly unlikely that your child has not sensed your distance or tension in the past. They may even suspect that divorce is on the horizon.
Before telling your kids the news, you and your spouse must be on the same page about how the discussion will go. Presenting the news as a united front will send the message that you are both their parents, despite your impending divorce. The details of the conversation will shift depending on your kids’ ages, but be sure to stress that your decision to divorce is not reflective of your love for your child or a result of their actions in any way.
Answering Their Questions
Children can react to divorce in a number of ways. If you and your spouse’s relationship is especially contentious, your kids may be relieved by this decision. If, however, you and your spouse have simply fallen out of love and no apparent “problems” exist, your child may not understand why you are making this choice. Be open to answering your kids’ questions, as they will likely have many. You and your spouse should be prepared to answer questions such as “Who will I live with?”, “Will we be moving?”, “Will I still get to see my friends?”, and more. Some kids may need to process the news before presenting you with questions. In cases like these, let your child know that you are always open to talking about your decision and how it will impact your future.
Helping Them Cope
As previously mentioned, kids’ reactions can come in all shapes and sizes. In the coming months, it is important to encourage honesty from them to let your children know that you are listening. Legitimizing their feelings and concerns will remind them that their opinions do mean something to you, even if you may not change your mind. One of the best ways to help your kids cope is by keeping the legal details, and any arguments with your co-parent, behind closed doors. If you discuss the details of your marriage or divorce with your kids, it can make them feel as if you are asking them to pick a side and further damage your relationship moving forward.
Contact a Joliet Divorce Attorney for Help
When parents make the decision to file for divorce, they can sometimes dread the conversation with their kids even more than the actual divorce. While divorce can be hard on families and may be difficult for your child to initially understand, your overall happiness is most important and will allow you to be a better parent. The Foray Firm is dedicated to preserving the dignity of families in transition by guiding you through every step of the way. Our compassionate legal team understands how challenging divorce can be, and we work tirelessly to handle the legal proceedings, allowing you to focus on your family’s healing. For help with your divorce, contact our Will County divorce lawyers at 312-702-1293.