Facing divorce and stymied about how to tell your kids? Wondering how it will affect them? Worried about hurting them with the news? When’s the best time to talk? What to say and not say? What they will say? Not sure just what to confide?
Well, you’re not alone.
There’s no doubt this might be one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have. It’s a talk your children won’t want to have – and you must be prepared.
Here are the mistakes most commonly made by parents. Be sure you don’t add stress to your children’s lives by making these errors.
* Exposing your children to parental conflict, fighting, bad-mouthing their other parent or other disrespectful behavior or remarks. Studies show that this does more damage to children than any other factor in their lives – whether in a divorced or still married family.
* Making your children choose between their parents. Don’t ask your children to make decisions or judgments regarding the parents they love. This puts enormous pressure on them. It’s your place to make all parenting decisions.
* Forgetting to emphasize that your children are innocent. Often children blame themselves for their parent’s failed marriage. It is important to remind the kids often that they played no part in the decision to divorce. They are not to blame.
* Turning your children into confidants or pals. Adults have trouble handling the emotions connected to divorce issues. Imagine how children feel when they receive inappropriate information they are helpless to do anything about? Let your friends be your sounding board – not your children.
The good news is there is lots of help available to you from qualified professionals. For a peaceful divorce, try mediation or an attorney specializing in the Collaborative Divorce model. Family therapists are always an excellent resource. You can also reach out to clergy, guidance counselors in the schools or professional coaches who handle divorce and family issues. In addition, many outstanding books and articles provide expertise on this subject.
Don’t underestimate how seriously your children will be impacted by this news. Speak gently and with love. Avoid the pitfalls that make a tough conversation even tougher on your kids. With care and consideration you can set the stage for a positive future for both you and your children.
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Rosalind Sedacca, is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of the internationally acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! To get Rosalind’s free ebook about Post-Divorce Parenting, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.