Divorce affects everyone in your family, especially your children. They are the innocent victims of divorce as their life will likely change significantly both during and after the divorce. There are a number of things you can do to prepare your children for a divorce. Here are a few important steps you should consider when making the decision to end the marriage.
Telling your children that you are divorcing before you actually file is never a good idea. In many cases, parents will threaten divorce in the heat of a moment only to have second thoughts later on. Putting your kids on notice too early will leave them confused, upset, and worried it may happen again. Be mindful of the timing of your announcement and only do so after the divorce process has started and after you have decided there is no turning back.
Kids tend to feel responsible for divorce and question whether or not it is they played a role in a their parents decision to separate. Let your children know early and often that it is not their fault. Make sure they know they had nothing to do with the divorce, and that it would have happened no matter what.
You might think you know how your kids will react to news of their parents’ divorce. However, all kids act differently depending on age, personality, and level of independence. Some kids may not open up at all to you, and in those cases, you may want to consider hiring a mentor or counselor. Other kids may want to have a serious conversation to express their feelings and concerns. Answer their questions in the most positive light possible, and let them know you will always be there for them.
Giving your kids a plan of what’s to come will help them to prepare for the changes headed their way, especially in cases where the children will be living in two different places. Make sure they understand that they do not have to choose sides and give them plenty of room to adapt to their new lifestyle.
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