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How to tell children their parents are getting a divorce

One’s children, undoubtable, are the light of their parents’ life. As much truth as this statement holds, it is not enough to prevent or to put-off a divorce.

Massachusetts parents thinking about getting a divorce often dread the moment after many family disputes in which they have to tell their child about their decision to get a divorce. But, there are better ways than others to tell children about the impending divorce.

Keeping a calm demeanor throughout this tough discussion is key, especially when the decision to divorce can take such an emotional toll. During the talk, make sure to use clear language and do not skirt around the truth of the matter.

Using the word “break” or “separation” can be confusing, and the child may hold out hope that the parents will get back together. If one has more than one child, sit them down together and tell them all in the exact same moment — do not put older kids before younger kids.

It is also key, both during and after the discussion, if possible, to show a unified front. If a child is hearing two things from parents, such as discrepancies about where they will live, they often feel confusion about the differences and anxiety over the fact that they see a conflict brewing between their two parents.

The child custody process does have many details and steps, but if parents can agree to act in the best interests of the child and unite in their decisions, it can make the process easier to handle for the child. Minimizing the number of other changes that could happen in a child’s life during this time can also help to stabilize their environment.

There is not an easy way to deliver the news of divorce to a child. But, it is important not to cut any corners and to stand decided, calm and collected. Showing stress or excess emotion during this time can really make the process much harder for the child. This is easier-said-than-done, but it is something all parents in the middle of a child custody process should keep in mind.

Source: The Huffington Post, “10 things to keep in mind when telling your kids about the divorce,” Carolin Lehmann, July 25, 2016