Knowing about their parents’ divorce will have the children feeling lonely and scared. Children’s emotions are greatly affected by divorce despite how old they are with most children taking years to cope. It is really tough breaking the news about the divorce to kids as one may not be sure what to say or how to say it. Here are a few tips on what mothers should tell their kids when preparing them for divorce.
- Plan beforehand what you will tell your kids but prepare to tell them the truth. Honesty is important when breaking the news about divorce. This will give the child a chance to let you know how they feel and as a mom, you can identify any signs of poor coping mechanisms early enough.
Let the child know that the divorce is not their fault. Kids will want to know why the divorce is happening to their family and among other reasons they may come up with, one is usually blaming themselves.
- Make it clear to the child that it is okay to feel how they feel. Whether angry, sad or excited there is no specific emotion they are required to have. One should also expect them to cry as a result of the news.
- Assure the child how much both their father and mother love them and that this will not change despite the expected family changes. Let them understand that you will express this love differently and there is no one who loves the child more than the other. Most importantly, do not forget to say the words I love you.
- Reassure the child that their personal lives will not change as a result of the divorce as it is purely between the parents. They should also know that it is not up to them to try and fix the marriage. Let them know that marriages are different and not all of them are destined to end up in divorce
- As much as you are trying to talk to your child about the divorce, ensure to give them the space to talk. Be an active listener and make sure that the child feels that you understand them.
- Be encouraging and at all costs keep yourself from getting emotional during the discussion. Crying will only make the child feel scared and confused. They will also be afraid of talking about their feelings.
- Say sorry to your kids for the emotional hurt you may have caused them. Let them know the specific mistake you have done and assure them it will not happen again.
- Timing is very important. There is no perfect moment to tell your child about the divorce, however, pick a time when there is enough time for the child to fully react to the news.
- Be gentle and talk to the child in the simplest way possible. Do not complicate the issue or bring up such things as custody or court cases.
- After giving them the news, be patient for the child to express their emotions and for the confusion to minimize. Do not pressure your child to let you know how they feel. Avoid too many questions about their emotions as they will be more stressed and confused. Instead, ask them in a more exciting less grilling way to ease the tension. If they do not feel like opening up at that moment, leave the topic.
- Keep in mind that giving them the news will only be the beginning as you will have to help them cope with it. You will also be required to reassure them again and again thus the need to be honest right from the start.
- How do you know your kids have adjusted well to the divorce?
- Having a good social life is a good thing. If your kid has been able to keep his friends and continues to engage in activities he or she loved before the news of the divorce, then there is a good chance that your kid will do well after the divorce as well.
- Determine whether your child is able to constructively interact with new people especially those who are not their peers. Being open about their relationships and activities is also vital.
- Be open about how they feel about the divorce. Your kids should be able to give their opinion and suggestions about the split whether positive or not. Having them talk about their feelings keeps them from developing depression.