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Talking to Your Children about Divorce

 Posted on June 12, 2015 in Children

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody attorney,Breaking the news of you and your spouse's upcoming divorce to your children can be extremely difficult. Even the cleanest, most amicable divorces can have serious impacts on children. When going through a divorce with your family, how you choose to break the news and continue to discuss things with your children can have a major impact on how they cope in the future.

Most school aged children already know of divorce. They probably have friends whose parents have either gone through a divorce or whose parents are already separated. While you can expect your child to have a basic understanding of divorce, hearing that their parents are separating for the first time can be devastating. No parent wants to see their children confused or in pain, so it is important to take the time to plan ahead to share the news properly.

Plan Ahead for the Talk

Revealing your divorce to your children cannot be a spur of the moment conversation. You and your spouse should plan ahead, choose a right time, and be prepared to answer a variety of questions from your children. Before choosing to fill your children in, be sure that you and your spouse are certain of your divorce. It can be confusing for your child to hear "Your mother and I are thinking about getting a divorce." Rather, experts say, wait until the divorce is definitely happening before breaking the news.

Telling your children about your divorce with your spouse is extremely important. Despite what may be going on personally between you and your soon to be ex, setting aside those differences and being able to be there together for your children is vital. You and your ex partner should communicate beforehand and map out how the conversation with your children is going to go. Set some rules with your spouse so you are both clear about how the conversation is going to go. You and your spouse will be co-parenting from now on, so it is important to reassure your children that you are both able to get along and be present together.

After you have mapped out what you are going to say, the next step is to schedule the conversation. Set aside at least an hour where both you and your spouse are available. Give your children plenty of time to ask questions. Experts recommend avoiding choosing times like right before your child goes to school, or right before bed. Your child needs support and being alone after hearing this news is not ideal.

Having the Conversation

While ample preparation can help ease some of the tension during the conversation with your children, you can expect major emotions and lots of questions from your children. Below are some things to keep in mind when having the divorce talk:

Prepare for questions. Your child will be curious about their future living situations and how much time they will get to spend with each parent. As much of this as you can answer during the talk, the more reassured your child will feel that everything is going to be okay.

  • Remind your children that it is not their fault. Your child may feel in some way responsible for your divorce, even without saying so, so it is important for both you and your spouse to remind your children that nothing is their fault;
  • Avoid blaming between you and your spouse. The goal is for your children to feel like your divorce was a shared decision between both parents, and that it is truly what is best for everyone; and
  • Plan for emotions.This is going to be a confusing and difficult time for your children. Expect them to be emotional and be sure both parents are prepared to be there for their children.
Preparation and planning is the key to a smooth divorce conversation with your children. Expect future conversations and adjustments as your lives move on. While following the steps above can help you with the process, you may require additional assistance during this transition period. Having a qualified Wheaton divorce attorney to help you can be crucial.Contact the law offices of Stock, Carlson, Flynn and McGrath, LLC at 630-665-2500 to speak to an attorney.
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