There is probably no easy or correct way to tell your children that you and your spouse are separating or divorcing. It would be an understatement to say that divorce will have a devastating impact on their emotional and psychological well-being. But, how parents inform their children and negotiate future parenting responsibilities affect how children will react to the news.
Dr. Marshall Colt gives parents several common sense tips to addressing the issue with their children:
- It’s best to tell your children together, simply, honestly and directly.
- Don’t go into detail about why or bash your spouse.
- It’s okay to reveal your sadness, while allowing them to also show their feelings.
- If you’re separating and not sure about divorce, don’t make predictions or promises you can’t keep.
- Try to keep things as consistent as possible.
Going forward, encourage the relationship with the other parent. Though you and your spouse are separating, neither of you are divorcing the children. Children should be encouraged to maintain their relationship with both parents. If your spouse is a “bum” let the children find this out for themselves. Do not indoctrinate or impose your views on them. Do not attempt to alienate your children from your spouse. Not only can this have a negative financial impact, it may be you that the children end-up resenting.