The prospect of telling your child about your divorce may be scary. It can be a tender and heartbreaking moment for everyone. However, it is a vital discussion to have.
How you tell your kid about the end of your marriage depends on age and maturity. School-age children have enough understanding and experience to understand the basics of what divorce means, but may not be able to process their emotions in a healthy way. Here are some pointers for informing your six to eleven-year-old child about your separation.
Time it right
While there is never a perfect time to talk about divorce, there are certainly wrong times to avoid, such as the following:
- Just as your kid is heading to an extracurricular activity
- Right before you leave for work
- Right before bedtime
You do not want to give your child news that makes him or her feel alone and unsafe. Choose a time with plenty of opportunities to give reassurances and hugs afterward.
Combat the blame game
School-age children often think of things in black-and-white. Therefore, your child may attempt to assign blame for the divorce. Your child may blame one of you or even him- or herself. Reassure your child that the divorce is not his or her fault and avoid blaming the other spouse.
Spare the details
While you may want to be transparent and open, there are some things your child should not know. Your kid should not be aware of the ongoing divorce process on a regular basis. Avoid handling divorce papers and discussing legal matters when your child is near. This helps minimize the impact and stress your child feels as the divorce unfolds.
The initial discussion is this the beginning of helping your child throughout the process. Once your child learns about the end of your marriage, you should continually offer love and maintain routines as much as possible.