As complicated, overwhelming, and frightening as a divorce can be, imagine what the process must look like, and feel like, through the eyes of a young child. Telling your children about a divorce or legal separation is a delicate situation and should be handled caution and consideration.
The most important thought to keep in mind while approaching your child about divorce is that he or she he or she will perceive the transition based upon how you and your spouse handle it. As such, feelings of hostility toward each other or any kind of emotional turbulence are absolutely not thoughts that you want to bring to the table. If your children recognize any malice between you and your partner, it is possible that he or she will assume blame for the anger and find his or herself guilt-ridden.
A good strategy to avoid these negative feelings on the part of your children is to tell them together; remind your children that this is NOT their fault and that it is best for everyone, and furthermore be sure to reinforce in this situation, there lies no blame.
How to approach your children about divorce may also be dependant upon their age. For instance, a toddler might not concern his or herself with legal proceedings or custody rights, but an older child might very well want to be informed and involved in the legal process of dividing custody. If your child is old enough to comprehend the concept of divorce, then he or she may very well be aware that the courts and lawyers will be involved, and he or she furthermore may be old enough to have a say in a custody hearing. At the very least, your child may be invested in and wondering how custody is ultimately decided, so you should keep this in mind when telling he or she that his or her parent is facing a divorce.
Be proactive about telling your children about a divorce or separation; do not simply wait for your children to come and ask, as they may be too afraid to do so, and they likely have already sensed that something is wrong anyway. Also, bear in mind that your children are not your personal counselor and should not be used as an outlet to vent your emotional thoughts and feelings. A divorce will be hard enough on your children already; your kids will be looking to you for reassurance, and you don’t want them thinking that they will go through this process needing to support and carry you in addition.
Remember that whatever happens between you and your spouse, your children will be a constant that will forever remain in your life, and thus they should be given the absolute most pertinent consideration during the process. If you are undertaking a divorce or legal separation, or have questions regarding your children or other matters in this article, contact the law offices of Walters Law Group today for any questions or consultation.