Breaking the News of Divorce to Your Children: Three Strategies for a Productive Conversation

Posted on in Divorce

st. charles divorce lawyerTelling your children about divorce is, for many parents, the worst part of the entire process. The idea of facing your child’s disappointment, tears, and confusion can feel overwhelming at best. But it is important to plan this conversation carefully; first, because it is inevitable, and second because your children will likely remember this conversation for many years to come. Like any other difficult task that must be done, planning ahead and creating a strategy can minimize negative feelings and make the conversation much more productive. Here are three tips to help you break the news of your Illinois divorce to your kids. 

Create a Constructive Narrative 

While you and your spouse know the nitty-gritty details of your divorce, your children do not need to know them - and, depending on their age, probably should not know them. Instead of sharing the hurtful and embarrassing things you and your spouse have done to hurt each other, create a constructive narrative that allows you to explain the situation to your children without revealing the hairy details. In this case, giving the exact truth is less important than helping your children feel supported and reassured.

Set Reasonable Expectations

On top of the prospect of their parents’ separation, children can easily be frightened by the uncertainty of divorce. Where will they live? When will they see their mother? Will all their siblings still be around? To the extent possible, give your kids the information they need to plan for the future. They may not have a detailed event calendar like you do, but they do need to be able to anticipate the future with some degree of certainty. If you do not know the answer to a question, be honest; but provide reassurances that you love them and will be there to support them no matter what. 

Anticipate a Range of Emotions

Your children may or may not be caught off-guard by the news; they may immediately express anger and sadness, but they may not. They may not even know how to express what they are feeling and you may have to interpret their emotions through their behaviors. If you have a child who suddenly becomes sassy, angry, unmotivated, or self-isolated, understand that these are all normal reactions as they process difficult information. However, it is important to monitor your children for more severe depression and anxiety and be aware of when these emotions may require professional help. 

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney Today 

While the St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys at Shaw Sanders, P.C. cannot make hard conversations about divorce easier, we can go out of our way to make sure the legal and logistical aspects of your divorce are well-managed and well-planned. For help making a smart divorce strategy and handling other areas of your divorce, contact us today at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free consultation at your convenience. 



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