Possibly the worst thing about getting a divorce is telling the children. There is no perfect time to tell them but of course they need to be told by the parents as soon as possible so they do not hear this emotionally upsetting news from someone else.
Parents Should Tell the Children Together
If possible, the parents should put their differences aside and meet together with the children to tell them about the divorce. Children react in all sorts of unpredictable ways. Some children may appear stoic and act like they are not surprised. Other children may shriek and seem to fall apart. It may be wise to tell the children with a child therapist present.
Parents must decide between themselves how much information to share with the children, but ideally, they should agree not to place blame on each other or on the children. As expected, children often are upset and worried about what is going to happen to them.
Important messages parents should convey to their children are that both parents still love them, will still be there for them when they need them, that the children did nothing wrong and that the divorce is not their fault.
Parents should be careful not to ask the children to take sides. When this happens, the children are often seriously emotionally damaged. They love both parents and do not want to be forced to choose one parent over the other.
What the Children Want to Know
Children generally respond to the news about their parents divorce with concerns about themselves. Things they ask about are:
- What will happen to me? Where will I live?
- Will we live in the same house?
- Will I go to the same school?
- Will I still be involved in the same after school activities?
- Will I keep my friends?
Parents should be honest with the children. Some answers may not yet be known. Mental health experts recommend that the age of the child will change the best way to tell them the news, but that sensitivity and planning are essential.
For More Information About Divorce Contact an Experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney.
For more information about how to tell your children about the divorce and to schedule a free initial consultation with a Dallas Family Law Attorney, contact Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices at 214-420-1800.