Protecting Your Family's Future

Communicating With Your Children About Divorce

When parents get divorced, children often suffer. They are the innocents who are generally not even old enough to understand what is happening except they know everything is changing. It may seem like they are losing a parent if one parent moves out of the family home.

However, all is not lost. Children are also by nature incredibly resilient beings, and you can indeed help your child move through this time of transition in a healthy way. Here are some tips on how to communicate with your child about a divorce.

1. See if you and your spouse can agree on basic ground rules that involve being truthful, keeping explanations simple, and providing emotional stability and nurturing to your children during this time. This may mean that you need to drastically step up your own emotional support by going to counseling, seeking out friends and family who can listen to you vent and process your upset.

2. Don’t Tell Them Everything. Keep the inappropriate details to yourself and adult friends. Children don’t need to know the bad things that your spouse did or how hard this is for you. They will also hold it against you as you are sharing with them an adult problem, which can overburden them. They are not emotionally equipped to listen to you share the adult reasons why you are divorcing, no matter how much they act like they are. Help them understand that they will see both of you, and provide reassurance that you will be there for them no matter what.

3. Present a unified front about your divorce with your spouse. Obviously, this is not always possible, but when both you and your soon to be ex can establish clear and mutually agreeable boundaries about how you are going to talk to your children about the divorce, it provides a level of stability for your child. When you and your spouse are on totally different pages and the kids hear conflicting things from each parent, it is very confusing. Don’t do it.

4. Reassure the children that it’s got nothing to do with them. Often children, especially those under the age of seven, will believe that the divorce is their fault. Make sure that children know that It’s not their fault and that “we just grew apart,” or “we don’t get along as a couple,” or something along those lines that has nothing to do with blame.

5. Choose a time to tell the kids when you can emotionally support them through their reaction. Timing is important. If you are upset and tell the kids, they will be upset too. Don’t tell them when they have something important on their plate, either.

6. Get enough support so that you have room in your own self to hear their upsets and their fears. Don’t let their fears upset you. They need you to be present to them. And they may show their upset through difficult behavior. Get support so you can still be loving to them no matter what, setting limits in a loving way but letting them know you will always be there for them no matter what. Continue to convey the message that they are okay and are going to be okay and that all of you will get through this.

7. Be as consistent as possible during this time. Do as much as you can to maintain a regular schedule even if the kids are transitioning between two houses. This physical stability helps support emotional stability.

Visit the website, an online and on-the-ground community forum with valuable peer-to-peer guidance that is free for parents and will help you address your hurts and those of your children.

Child Custody, Divorce, and Family Law Attorney in Baytown, Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, has provided legal counsel to men and women involved in custody matters, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about divorce or any other family law matter, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

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Stewart Law PLLC