No matter how it goes, telling your child or children that you plan to divorce is upsetting for everyone. It’s helpful to plan out the conversation in advance, ideally by working together with your partner in Pennsylvania. Plan the talk out carefully, but don’t wait until it’s too late and they hear the news from someone else.
What to tell them
Help your children understand the reasoning behind the decision. They may not be able to fully understand family law, but they are still owed an explanation. Dealing with the repercussions of a divorce may be easier for them later in life if they have things broken down into terms they can understand as early as possible.
When to tell them
As crucial as it is to find the right time for this conversation, it may be helpful to think about when not to do it. It’s not a good idea to break the news on a significant day like a holiday or any other date that’s special to them or the family, for instance.
Don’t start the big talk right before sending them to bed or school, leaving them to ruminate on the new information while being left in their heads. It’s best for them to be able to ask questions and not potentially build up the situation to seem even worse than it is.
How to tell them
Use “we” statements rather than pushing blame on one parent or the other. While it may seem most important to be completely truthful with your children about the divorce, it may be more helpful to frame things in a way that doesn’t make the kids feel caught in the middle.
Give the children an idea of what to expect going forward. As stressful and even scary as the future may seem for the divorcing parents, remember that your kids are likely going through the same thing. Provide them with reassurance about the things that you’re certain of without giving any false promises or overwhelming them with hard decisions.