As a parent, you don’t want to burden your child with too many details about your divorce. It’s not healthy. Unfortunately, you may also not know exactly what to say to your child about your divorce, either.
If communication between you and your children regarding your divorce seems to be at a standstill, here are some of the things that people say they wish their parents had known to tell them when they were kids and their parents were divorcing:
1. Make sure you tell your children they’re not responsible.
You don’t have to explain in any great detail why you’re getting a divorce. Just explain that Mom and Dad aren’t happy living together. Let your children know that there is nothing they did that caused the divorce — and nothing they could have done to prevent it.
2. Let them know it’s okay to love the other parent.
How do you do that? First, don’t ask your children to spy on their other parent. That automatically makes your child feel guilty and sets the other parent up as “the bad” parent (who should be spied upon). Second, don’t disparage your child’s other parent in front of the kids. Remember — you have no idea how strongly your children identify with their other parent on an internal level. If you’re negative about some personality trait of your ex-spouse, your children may feel like you’re also directing the comments to them.
3. Make sure that you both let the kids know that you love them.
Make sure that they understand that the divorce is happening between the adults. The parent who is “leaving” is still going to be around and in their lives. Make sure that you both make it clear that the kids are deeply loved by both parents — no matter who they are living with at any given moment.
Ending a marriage isn’t easy, but a strong support system — including an experienced legal team — can make the entire divorce process easier.