If you are entering a divorce, where minor children are involved, the emotional effects of such a process with inevitably trickle down to your children. Therefore, it is important to discuss with them the divorce in an open discussion. However, having such a conversation may be difficult as many parents do not know what to say or how their child will react. Below are some tips complied by your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney to assist you in this difficult discussion and hopefully give you some outline as to how to approach such a sensitive topic with your children.
First, it is important to approach this adult topic in an age appropriate manner. For instance, children who are 15 will need to have a much different or in-depth discussion than their younger sibling at the age of 5. Acknowledge your child’s level of understanding and maturity before developing the information you will reveal, and the way you discuss the new family dynamic.
Second, tell the truth, in a child friendly way. Discussing with your child that sometimes, parents grow apart and are unable to get along, may be all your child needs to grasp the concept of divorce. However, it is not necessary to go into detail of a spouse’s infidelity, or the reasons you no longer get along with your spouse. Rather, it is important not to assign blame. You do not want to cause a strain on your child’s relationship with their parent simply because your relationship with your spouse has deteriorated. It is important for a child to have both parents in their lives and maintain a healthy relationship with both.
Third, explain to them the new dynamic or schedule that is likely to occur. The change in custody and how the child will spend time with one parent on certain days or weeks and the other parent during the others. It is much easier for children to cope if they have a set schedule they can look to, therefore consistency is key. Prior to having this conversation, it is important to have most of your timesharing arrangement figured out as to avoid any confusion for the child.
Fourth, be prepared to answer any questions your child may have and ask them how they are feelings. Make sure they know that however, they may be feeling is ok and acknowledge each of their feelings. Ensure they know that they can come to you during this time with any changes that they may be fearful of, or with any questions they may have later on. Allow them to express their anger or sadness and be prepared for it. Do not make them feel that they cannot express these feelings to you without hurting you because that will likely prevent them from coming to you in the future.
Finally, reassure them. Reassure them that you and your spouse love them no matter what happens between them as a couple. Ensure that they acknowledge that they are your top priority and you will continue to be there as a parent even when they are in the custody of your spouse. Remind them that they are able to contact you at any time and express their feelings with you. Further, let them know that this conversation can occur again if they have any more questions or need to go over the details again. Leave the topic open to them and allow them to process as they feel necessary.
If you are finding it difficult to approach the topic of divorce with your children, attempt to formulate your conversation using these tips provided by your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney. However, adjust them as necessary to your unique situation and the needs of your child. Each family and child is different and responses to such drastic news can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to be prepared and give this conversation a great deal of thought and consideration.
Speaking to an attorney at our Tallahassee office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.