Just Tell Them: Being Upfront With Your Children About Divorce
Divorce is awful — for everyone. No matter how mutual a divorce is, the act of divorce can be devastating for everyone involved; things are changing and a house is being split in two. But though the idea from splitting up from your ex is sad for you, it could be Earth-shattering for your child. Children don’t understand the concept of divorce, marriage, or even love. They won’t always understand why their parents are living in different places. Because divorce can get ugly very fast, you want to make sure you do right by your child.
In this blog, we will be discussing why it is important to be upfront with your child about your divorce. Hopefully, by reading this blog, you will get a better understanding of the processes you must do to respectfully and compassionately break the news to your child.
Tell Your Child With Your To-Be-Ex
Telling people bad news is never easy, especially when it is your child. Children can be difficult to discuss difficult concepts to, mainly because they don’t understand the complexity of the situation. For them, all they know is that their family is breaking up. Because divorce can be such a delicate situation, you need to tell your child on a united front. This means you need to tell your child with your ex.
Though telling your child that you are getting a divorce can be the last thing you want to do, it is very important. Showing your child that both parents agree on the idea of divorce, can help them cope with it much easier. Seeing that both parents are coming together can also make the child feel a sense of prevailing unity. Announcing the new together can help console your child and let them know that everything will be okay. Sometimes, these little reassurances are all your child needs to remain calm and handle the divorce in a healthy way.
Don’t Sugar Coat It
Sugar coating difficult subjects is what you normally do when talking to your children. For instance, many parents can make up elaborate stories that sugar coat harsh subjects or bad news. When pets die, parents will often come up with stories about how the beloved animal went on a permanent vacation. When you sugar coat bad news, or even lie about it, your child can develop trust issues with you. As a parent, being upfront and truthful with your child can make them trust you much more. Though the truth can hurt, telling your child the facts without bells or whistles can be helpful.
Don’t Hide It
Do not hide your divorce from your child. Much like sugar coating, if you hide things from your child they can learn to not trust you. Also, by hiding your divorce news from your child, they can easily feel betrayed or disrespected. When you hide important information from your child, or anyone for that matter, they can feel more hurt when they learn the truth. Instead of healthily interpreting the bad news, they can feel used and hurt by the people they love the most. If you are getting a divorce, being upfront about your bad news is important. By being forward about what is happening, you can show your child that you are serious, yet confident about the decision to split from your ex. By telling them calmly, you will be able to include them in important information, which can also make them feel valued.
When it comes to bad news, it will always be hard to tell your loved ones. Telling your children can be more heartbreaking because they won’t always understand. Know that there is no way around telling your kids about your divorce, but understand there are healthy ways to break the news to them gently and effectively.
At The Women and Children’s Law Center, we have family law attorneys available to talk to you. If you need guidance through the divorce process, we may be able to help you. Contact our law office today for more information about our Oklahoma City divorce lawyers.