Far harder than telling your spouse that you want a divorce is breaking the news to the kids. You are about to present them with a cold hard truth and the truth often hurts. Expect tears, from both them and you. It’s sad when a marriage ends, no matter how good of a reason you have for ending it.
It order to minimize the negative impact as much as you can there are a few things you should do, and a few things you should certainly avoid, when making the announcement.
Choose a safe and familiar environment, your home is best. The living room or their bedroom works well. Mom and Dad should both be present, this is very important. This needs to look like a unified front, a joint decision between parents. Avoid having any other family or friends present as they can add stress and conflict, besides, no one wants to hear their 2-cents right now anyway.
Before talking to the kids, plan out what you are going to say in advance. It isn’t a bad idea to write down and practice a script if it makes you feel more comfortable. You are going for a short and simple explanation. Kids do not need a detailed account of all the wrong doings and they certainly do not need to be made into pawn in your blame game. Avoid talking about cheating, lying, money or using derogatory terms or foul language.
Deliver your script quickly and simply, trying your best to leave emotions out of it. There may be tears, there may be questions or there may be absolute stunned silence while they process the information. Be prepared for anything.
Once you’ve told them that divorce is taking place, make sure to follow up with a quick sketch of the next steps and what your family will look like when this is all over. Before you tell your kids about the divorce its best that you have at least a good idea of what the custody and living arrangements are going to be. Try to keep home life as similar as possible for the children, at least in the beginning. Make changes slowly, giving them time to adjust.
Follow this news with plenty of love, hugs and kisses. There will be more and more questions in the days that follow, some family counseling may be in order. The most important thing is for the children to feel loved and know that no matter what their needs will be met and they will still be part of a family.