Divorce is one of the most difficult events a person can go through. Though, as hard as it is on the adults involved in the split, it can be far more upsetting for kids who don't understand or don't want their parents to get divorced.
With this in mind, understand that you can play a significant role in helping your kids through this process. One way to do this is to prioritize and practice effective communication with your kids about the divorce. Below are four ways you can do this.
- Stay calm and take your time. As this article suggests, it can be helpful to practice what you are going to say so that you are prepared. Choose a time to talk when you and your kids are not distracted, and a place where you feel comfortable.
- Keep it age-appropriate. Depending on your child's age, you should adjust what you say about why you are divorcing, what it means and what will change. Remember, though, that all kids need reassurance that it is not their fault and that their parents still love them.
- Ask them questions; be available for their questions. Keeping the lines of communication open when you talk about the divorce is crucial. If you don't check in with your kids, you can miss critical clues about how they are handling the split. If they don't feel like they can ask you questions, they can shut down.
- Avoid hurtful or critical comments about the other parent. Regardless of why you are divorcing your spouse, he or she is still your child's parent. Saying mean or negative things about that person in front your kids can be confusing and upsetting for them.
These tips can make it a little easier to talk about a very difficult subject with your kids. They can also be helpful when it comes time to explain custody and parenting plans with your kids, as that will also be a tough subject to talk about.
Divorce is hard on families. However, focusing on positive, effective communicate with your kids during and after a divorce can help them - and you - avoid some of the pain and confusion of this process.