Divorce is a difficult time for everyone who is involved. Consideration goes a long way, and can make the process smoother and easier to deal with. You and your partner no doubt have a lot to discuss, but it is even more important to maintain effective communication with your children.
Every divorce is different, both circumstantially, and for personal reasons that only you and your ex- partner can truly understand. Whatever the case, your children would benefit from knowing what is going on. If you do not talk to them, then they will be left to take a guess, or worse still gather their opinions from magazines and TV programs.
As well as benefiting from knowing what is going on, your children will also want their own feelings to be heard, and may need to speak their own minds. With the co-operation of your partner, you can establish a line of communication that can be very reassuring for the whole family.
Communication is a two way process. You must speak with them, but you must also listen wholeheartedly, and console where necessary. The divorce between you and your partner should have the minimal impact on your children as possible, especially on an emotional level, and open and honest communication will help dramatically.
Breaking The News
Perhaps the moment that is most feared by divorcees, is the inevitable first chat with the kids.
It is important that you know that you are splitting up with your partner before you break the news. You should never confuse your child with statements like, “me and your mum might be getting a divorce.” When you know you are divorcing, then is the time to break the news.
Consider sitting down with the whole family, you and your partner if possible, and anyone else who will be directly affected, and explaining the situation in simple terms, as it is, without trying to score any points.
Always be supportive, and listen and encourage your children to share their feelings. If they try to resist, and want you to stay together, it is important that you explain to them that it has to be this way. Give them truthful answers to any questions they have, and do not assume you will know exactly how they feel.
Remember that you are the adults, and it is important to convey this in your communication. That means being mature and civilized during talks with your children. If you have to argue with your partner about adult things then do so somewhere else. Talk to your children about the living arrangements, and explain that they can still see both of you.
Communication Doesn't End There...
After you have spoken to your children about the divorce, it is important that you continue an open and honest line of communication throughout the whole process, and beyond, until you know everything has settled. You are likely to experience a variety of emotions yourself, and the same will be true for your children. Regularly check in on how they feel, and talk to them if anything changes.
You must also allow your partner fair time to communicate with their children, and it helps a lot to be able to talk to them both alone and together. Depending on your parenting styles this can be something that happens on a planned and routine basis, or whenever you feel it to be necessary.
Ideally both parents are still aligned in their goal of wanting what is best for their child. Divorce is a difficult time, but it is so important not to lose site of that. Proper communication between you, your partner, and your children, is one of the most important factors that will lessen the impact of the divorce on your children.