How To Explain To Your Children The Reason Behind The Divorce
Your divorce or separation ordeal can be an agonizing time for your children. There are a million questions that flash across the tender mind of a child when his/her parents are parting ways, and he/she is left in the custody of any one of the two. And if these questions are left unanswered, your child might be left befuddled with the circumstances, and start forming negative opinions about your character. Such children often grow up, with a distorted mindset about the sanctity of the institution of marriage. However, if you choose to discuss the situation with your child openly and with a clarity of mind, he/she might be better equipped to deal with the painful ordeal.
Choose your timing wisely
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind when breaking the news to your child is the right timing. Avoid confusing your child with the uncertainty of your divorce before it has been finally decided upon. Also, remember that once your child comes face to face with the ugly truth, he/she would require you to be with him/her afterward, to offer him/her reassurances.
Break the news together
In the midst of the emotional turmoil and conflict, it might seem difficult to agree upon anything with your spouse. However, for your child’s sake, it is essential that you do the talking along with your partner, as a team. When your child hears the same story from both the parents together, it assures him/her that it is a mutual decision and allows reinforcement that they are still loved.
Assure him/her that it is not his/her fault
More often than not, children end up taking the blame of their parent’s separation, on themselves. The child might think that his/her parents are separating because he/she did not do well in school or because he/she misbehaved. It is your responsibility to clear his/her mind of any such negativity and explain to him/her that your divorce is an adult decision that does not involve him/her in any way.
Spare your child the intricacies of your divorce
It is best not to display your disagreements in front of your child. You might be having a thousand problems with your spouse and probably a million reasons to stay away from him/her. However, it is in your child’s best interest, not to reveal every single detail of your conflicts to him/her. Calling your spouse names or arguing with them in front of your child would end up destroying their image in his/her eyes.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that all your child need in this heart-breaking time is a genuine reassurance and a consistency of the routine he/she relies on.
To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.