If you have children and you’re going through a divorce, your biggest concerns are how your kids are going to be affected, when is the best time to tell your children, and how much should you share with them?
As a parent you already know that kids, even very young ones, have an uncanny sense of awareness; they’re going to know that something is going on even though they may not exactly what. It’s important that you talk with your kids and validate their perception that you and your spouse are not getting along and may be separating. Your child’s age and temperament will determine how much is appropriate to share.
Don’t let your kids suffer unnecessarily by leaving them in the dark to imagine worst case scenarios and to manage their stress and anxiety all by themselves.
Establishing an open line of communication at the beginning of the divorce process will go a long way to minimizing a child’s anxiety. You cannot assure your kids too often that while things will be different, at the end of the day, they still have two parents that love them very much. Remind them often during the process that the divorce is not their fault. Perhaps most importantly, never say anything negative about your spouse in front of the kids. Regardless of how much you dislike your spouse, your child’s relationship with that person is independent of yours. Even if she or he wasn’t a great partner, they likely have some redeeming qualities as a parent. No matter how bad your relationship has become with your ex, always maintain a united front when discussing your divorce with your children.
Regardless of your children’s ages, never share with them so much that they become embroiled in your divorce. They should not be forced to pick sides or to report back to one parent what the other parent is doing! Keep your kids protected from what transpires between you and your spouse so they can enjoy just being a kid.