What Should You Say to Your Kids about Your Divorce?
Whether you are just considering divorce as one of several options or are certain that your marriage is over, you’re no doubt concerned about the effect that a divorce could have on your kids.
Fortunately, the effect on kids can be minimal, especially if you take steps to make sure that your kids still feel loved, safe, and secure. A recent article from The Huffington Post lists the nine things you should say to your kids during your divorce to help them through it:
- It’s not your fault. When you tell them the news, your kids are naturally going to want to know why you are getting divorced. Illogical as it may be, kids can blame themselves for problems their parents are having, which is why it’s important for you to tell them that your divorce has nothing to do with anything they did.
- Whatever you’re feeling is ok. It’s also important for kids to know that what they are feeling-anger, sadness, and other hurt feelings-is normal. If they want to talk about these feelings with someone, let them know that they can come to you.
- If you need support from others, it’s there. Sometimes, kids may not feel comfortable talking to their parents about the divorce. In other cases, their response may be self-destructive. This is when it can be helpful for kids to talk to a therapist, support group, or family friend.
- We both still love you. It is essential that your kids know that-regardless of where you live or your marital status-you and your spouse will always love them.
- We might show love in different ways. It’s common for kids to question whether or not, and how much, their parents love them after divorce. According to the article, “In doing so, they tend to quantify, measuring the actions of one parent against the other.” This is why you should remind your kids that both parents love them equally, even if one spends more money or more time with them.
- Our divorce doesn’t define you. Your kids should know that their hopes and goals can stay the same during and after the divorce.
- It’s not up to you to fix our marriage. Just like they weren’t responsible for the break-up, your kids should know that they aren’t responsible for mending the relationship.
- Marriage can be-and often is-great. Marriages sometimes don’t work out. But that doesn’t mean that all marriages are doomed to failure. Tell your kids this so that they don’t give up on the institution altogether.
- You will survive. Let them know that divorce can be a good thing and that it won’t be long before things seem normal again.
When going through a divorce with kids, the most important thing is that you try to maintain a loving, safe environment. Your divorce doesn’t have to hurt your children.