When you've decided to get a divorce and there are children involved, it can be difficult to know how to broach the subject with them. It can be especially hard if the children are too young to really understand concepts like divorce.
Naturally, a divorce will mean a lot of changes for them, and so the important thing is for them to understand what to expect and that they can still feel secure in their future, even though things will be different.
Don't Talk About Things That Aren't Certain
A key point on talking to your children about your impending divorce is to make sure that you don't give them expectations based on things that are not yet final. If you have not yet decided between yourselves or with your lawyers who will have custody of the children, or how any shared custody arrangements will work, it is best not to tell them that things will be a certain way until you contact a divorce lawyer and know for sure that what you are telling them is actually what will happen. This can help avoid confusion and there is no harm in telling them that some things have not yet been decided if they ask about them.
Explain That They Are Still A Priority For Both of You
Some children worry that if their parents are no longer together this will have an impact on their own relationship with one or both parents. It is important to reassure your children that they are still a priority, even if the family will not be continuing to live together in the way that it has up until now. Make sure that both of you give the same message when it comes to this. No matter how you may feel about each other, your relationships with the children should be always presented as stable and secure.
Let Them Ask Questions - Even if You Can't Answer Them All
Children can often have some misconceptions about what life will be like after their parents’ divorce, and this can sometimes be because their only experience of divorce is through things they've seen on TV shows or the situations other children they know have been in. They are likely to have a lot of questions and it is important to let them talk about what’s happening. Make them feel that it is OK to talk about their own uncertainties and thoughts on things without upsetting you.
You may not be able to answer all of their questions at this time, but if you can be honest with them and say that you yourself don't know yet or that there are legal issues still being resolved, this is better for their general confidence about the situation than feeling like you aren't telling them what's going on.
Talking about adult situations like marriage and divorce with children can be difficult and needs to be done with sensitivity. You can find a lot of helpful resources online to help you make sure that you approach these difficult conversations in the most effective way.