For many couples, telling their kids that they're divorcing is the most difficult part of the process. You and your spouse are dealing with your own emotions and possibly antipathy towards each other, but you have to find a way to reassure your children that everything is going to be okay.
It's best that the two of you talk to your kids together. Decide ahead of time what you're going to say so that you can present a united front and assure them that you'll both continue to be there for them as their parents. No matter what your feelings are toward one another, this is not the time to place blame or ask your kids to choose sides.
When breaking the news to your kids, emphasize that the break-up has nothing to do with them. What you say and how much detail you provide will depend on their age and maturity. However, in some way, you should convey that relationships between adults change and that you've mutually decided to end the marriage. If the kids have seen you fighting or not speaking, they are likely to understand that this is best for everyone.
Don't Burden Your Kids
Don't involve your kids in issues of spousal or child support or decisions around custody and visitation. Don't ask them to choose whom they want to live with. You need to make those decisions ahead of time and present them to your kids as co-parents.
It's fine to let your kids know that you're sad, but don't burden them with your emotions. Find a therapist, family member or friend to talk with out of your kids' earshot. Don't share your anger at your spouse with your kids or project jealousy or resentment when they share positive feelings about their other parent.
Let Them Feel Free to Talk
Let your children know that they should feel free to share their feelings with you any time and ask questions as the process proceeds. If you believe your kids are having a difficult time dealing with your divorce, you may want to have them talk with a therapist. Kids often feel more comfortable sharing their feelings with someone outside the family, and a therapist can provide more objective feedback than you or your spouse can.
If you need guidance on how to tell your kids about your divorce or deal with their emotions and questions, your family law attorney can likely recommend some resources to help you and your children get through the divorce in an emotionally healthy way.
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