If you are heading for a divorce, you know how stressful and heart-wrenching the process can be. After all, even if your marriage is not acrimonious, you must figure out how to separate from your spouse. If you have kids, though, you may have no clue how to explain the divorce to them.
Even though many marriages end in divorce, the end of your marriage probably feels unique to you. Still, you can likely deal with your divorce emotions by taking a proactive approach. The same is true for talking to your kids about the end of your marriage. Here are four steps that may help you explain divorce to your kids:
1. Do it together
You and your partner may have decided to call it quits while remaining committed to raising good kids. If so, you should try to explain divorce as a team. Having both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse there is apt to give your kids the certainty and continuity they need to process their own emotions.
2. Be straightforward
Your children do not need to know the gritty details about your marriage or its inevitable end. On the contrary, they need a simple explanation in easy-to-understand terms. Similarly, the words you use should be age-appropriate. If you need help forming them, ask a child psychologist or counselor for assistance.
3. Set expectations
Many kids do not like change. While your divorce is likely to bring about considerable change for you, you can make the transition easier. Create a schedule that you can explain to the young ones in your life. Also, tell them which parent will be responsible for which activities.
4. Reaffirm your love and commitment
Finally, you must take every opportunity to tell your children that you love them and are not going anywhere. While you may live somewhere else, your kids should see you regularly. This is especially important in the month after you disclose your divorce.
You want your kids to be fine after your marriage ends. By understanding how to talk to them about your divorce, you help your children cope. You may also help yourself begin to process your own post-divorce reality.