Discussing Divorce with Your Child
Many parents want to know the best way to discuss divorce with their children. Discussing divorce in an honest and productive way is necessary to help your child cope with the divorce. It can help them emerge without significant emotional trauma. Talking with your child about divorce should be done carefully, and should be done with both you and your spouse present. Here are some tips on discussing divorce with your child in a positive and productive way.
Be clear about the facts.
You don’t have to go into detail about the cause of the divorce, but try to be as honest about the situation as you can keeping in mind your child’s age and maturity. This can help your child know exactly what is going on between you and your spouse so they can easily see that they have nothing to do with it.
Reassure them your love for them has not changed.
Children need to be reminded that both you and your spouse still love them very much. Even if you think your child already knows this or that it is a safe assumption, reaffirming it for them provides stability and security at a time when they need it most.
Divorce will change your child’s life significantly. Some children handle change well, but they still need to know what to anticipate. Discuss the changes your child will face with your spouse first so you two can be on the same page. Then discuss the changes with your child. You don’t need to overwhelm them with the details of your separation agreement, but give them a general idea of your plans for how you will share parenting time and how your child will be transported between your two houses. Also, make sure you let your child ask questions and express how they feel about the changes. They may be anxious about a particular change you may be able to adjust for their well-being.
Whenever discussing divorce, make sure you encourage your child to share his or her feelings in the process. This may come easily to some children but may be harder for others. It is important to make sure the conversation is not one-sided. Encouraging your child to participate in the discussion can help you identify and correct any misunderstandings they may have, acknowledge their importance as a family member, and show them their thoughts and opinions matter. Open, honest communication and a free exchange of ideas and opinions can go a long way toward helping your child cope with the divorce in a healthy way.
If you have questions about how you can protect your child’s best interests during the divorce, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can provide you the information and guidance needed to help you and your spouse protect your child’s well-being in your divorce. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.