STOP! If you are considering a divorce, do everything within your power to find another way. Divorce hurts. It will hurt your children whether or not they are willing to tell you. Divorce fundamentally changes the world they have come to know. That said, we recognize that some people will still elect to get a divorce, or may find themselves in a position where they have no choice. In those situations, we hope that you will make every effort to lessen the impact divorce will have on your kids. Those efforts should start from the very beginning, and in this case the beginning is when you choose to tell the kids about the divorce.
The following lists provide guidance on the steps you can take to tell your children about your divorce in the best possible way. Though these steps will not eliminate all pain and hurt your children might feel, we hope that they will help to mitigate the impacts of divorce. Not all of these steps will be easy for you, but we encourage you to make every effort to take as many of these steps as you possible can. Whatever you do, be honest with your kids, do not tell your children the things listed below if you do not actually intend to do it.
- Don’t tell your children until you are absolutely sure you are getting a divorce.
- Tell the kids together with your spouse.
- Determine with your spouse ahead of time what you will say to your children and who will say it.
- Tell all of your children together at the same time.
- Pick an appropriate time for the conversation. Do not pick a time where someone need to head off to a soccer game or business meeting.
- Leave plenty of time for the conversation. Allotting an entire day and evening for this conversation would be best.
- Pick a private place to tell your children the news. Do not have the conversation with family friends or relatives present.
- Pick a place that is familiar and comfortable for your children. Do not have the conversation in a public place.
- Anticipate questions your children might ask ahead of time and be prepared to answer them.