Talking to their children about divorce may be challenging for parents, but there are things they can do to help gently break the news.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia's divorce rate as of 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available, was 3.8 for every 1,000 people. For divorcing couples who have children, talking to their kids about their split may be challenging. While parents cannot completely eliminate the upset their children may feel when they are told about the divorce, there are things they can do to break the news as gently as possible.
Tell the kids right away
Children are sometimes more perceptive than their parents and other adults in their lives give them credit for. Thus, they may pick up that something is going on well before they are told that their parents are splitting up. Not knowing what is happening or why may lead to anxiety and upset for some children. Therefore, it is suggested that parents tell their children about their plans to divorce as soon as they are sure of them. This may alleviate the uncertainty in their lives and allows children to begin adjusting to the coming changes.
Plan what to say
Due to the emotions that are often at play at the end of a marriage, parents may not want to think about how they will break the news to their children. However, this conversation is not one that parents should improvise. Rather, it is advisable that they plan what they are going to say ahead of time. Entering into a discussion about their plans to divorce may help parents keep the focus on what is important and offer reassurances to their children.
Talk as a family
When breaking the news to their children about a divorce, it is generally recommended that people talk as a family. Having both parents there together may be encouraging for their children and help show them that they will both still be involved in their lives. By telling all of their kids about their plans to divorce at the same time, parents may avoid placing a heavy burden on the children they tell and making the kids they do not tell feel that they cannot handle things.
Set differences aside
Leading up to, during and after a divorce, it is common for couples to be at odds with one another. However, when it comes time to tell their children they are getting divorced, it is important for parents to set their differences aside. According to Scientific American, research has shown that children may have issues adjusting to this type of major life change if they are exposed to parental conflict during and after the divorce. Therefore, parents should strive to keep the focus on their children and to keep them out of the fight.
Allow children to react
Like adults who are going through a split, the children of divorcing parents will also have feelings about the separation. While it may be difficult for them to hear or upsetting to them, it is suggested that parents allow their children to react to the news. Further, they should do their best to reassure them that it is okay to have the feelings they are having.
Consult with an attorney
When Northern Virginia divorces are drawn out, it may lead to prolonged conflict and upset. Thus, it may be helpful for parents who have made the decision to split to work with an attorney. A lawyer may negotiate on their behalf and help them to efficiently and effectively resolve their issues so they and their children can begin the process of adjusting and moving on.