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Tough Conversations: Talking to Your Children About Divorce

Board Certified Boca Raton Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Children have a particularly tough time getting through a divorce unscathed. In fact, the divorce talk may be one of the most tough conversations you have as a parent. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to make the conversation easier. With these tips, you can learn how to tackle these tough conversations with ease.

1. Understand that tough conversations are often long-lasting memories

While you might think that a tough conversation is quickly a thing of the past, that’s far from the truth. The conversation that you have about divorce is one that your children will remember. Years later, they will look back on the conversation. If it goes well, they may find comfort in it. However, a bad conversation will cause pain.

You should only have the divorce talk with your children when you realize the significance of your words. Before you have the talk, you should take the time to plan your words carefully. Tough conversations like this one can be forever engrained in your children’s minds. Don’t take the situation lightly.

2. Avoid secrets

Many parents make the mistake of telling one child, and not the rest. While you may think that telling your oldest first is a good idea, it’s not. It forces your child to keep secrets from everyone else. No one should have the pressure of your divorce on their shoulders alone. Instead of telling one child at a time, tell everyone at the same time. To accomplish this, you can call a family meeting. Make sure that everyone is present, and share the news with everyone.

In addition to forcing children to keep secrets, telling children about your divorce separately causes another problem. It makes some kids feel less worthy than others. For example, you might choose to tell your youngest child last. In doing so, you send a message that they can’t handle a difficult situation. You also may send a message that you trust them less than your other children. While that may not be the case, your child can interpret it that way.

3. Speed up the process

Divorce proceedings can be long, and they can be stressful. As much as you and your partner might disagree on the divorce terms, you should try to finalize the divorce quickly. Drawing out your divorce is difficult for your children. It makes them question whether or not you will divorce. Additionally, it makes them bear the stress of the divorce for longer than they need to.

For the sake of your children, try to speed up the divorce process. If you have to, hire a mediator. Take advantage of the Divorce lawyers in Boca Raton that you can find and work hard to come to a swift solution. In a divorce, no one really wins or loses. You may as well come to a quick solution and let your children escape the stress of the situation.

4. Don’t make assumptions

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make before having tough conversations like divorce is to assume. Don’t assume what your children are feeling. Instead, ask them how they feel about the situation. Listen to their answers and address their concerns. Their answers may surprise you. If you had a prepared speech based on assumptions, your speech might make them feel worse about the situation.

Every child handles a divorce differently. While one child might act out in anger, another might fell some relief at the prospect of divorce. You can’t know how your child will react until you talk to them. Once you know how they really feel, you can have a conversation about the issue. Until then, you should avoid speaking about it.

5. Don’t belittle their feelings

Sometimes, a child responds to a divorce with emotions that seem ridiculous to an adult. No matter how silly you think your children are acting, don’t belittle their emotions. The way they feel is the way they feel; they can’t change that. While it’s your job to make them feel better, you should be careful how you go about doing that. Be sensitive to their emotions and don’t invalidate their feelings.

6. Put your emotions aside

While a divorce can be hard on you, you need to keep your emotions in check when you discuss it with your children. Leave any childish emotions and behavior at the door. Instead of playing the blame game or arguing with your partner, be an adult. Join forces with your partner for a few minutes to show your children that everything will be okay.

If you and your partner can keep things amicable for a short time, your kids will benefit from it. They will feel more at ease about the divorce process. If you can’t keep your emotions in check, your children might worry about their future. Let them know that things will turn out for the best, even if you have your own doubts about it.