Getting Divorced? Here’s How You Can Explain It To Your Kids

How You Can Explain It To Your Kids

The way we talk about divorce can have a lasting impact on our kids. Research shows that talking about divorce with children as young as six or seven can cause kids to develop unrealistic expectations about marriage, relationships and divorce. 

Divorce is a difficult situation for children to deal with. They’re forced to separate from a parent they’ve grown to love and trust. They can’t always understand why mommy or daddy is acting differently than he or she used to act. What is the best thing for kids to understand and cope with divorce?

We can be blunt. Divorces are hard. They hurt. And they’re a difficult topic to explain to children. It’s probably one of the hardest things parents have to deal with. But, if you’re reading this, you might get some insight that may help you in the future.

Be Honest With Your Children

To build trust with your children, you need to be honest with them. They need to trust you, so being honest and transparent is key. Start with telling them why you’re doing something, and then explain why you decided to do what you did. Be sure to give them information in a logical, organized manner. They’ll appreciate the honesty and consistency you bring to the table, and you’ll have much better relationships.

Kids will naturally want to understand why Mom and Dad don’t live together anymore. The best way to explain this to your kids is to be honest, even when it’s hard. Explain to your children why you feel you need to end the marriage. Be straightforward in your explanations, and never try to hide the truth from your children.

Start Early. This May Save You Later

If you were going to be divorced this year, it would be best to start planning the separation as early as possible. Why? Because there are plenty of things to consider that need to be decided before you even move out of the house. For instance, who’s getting the house? Where are the kids going to live? How are the finances going to be split? How will the kids be cared for?

When it comes to divorce, there are so many things to consider. It would help if you thought about this early on. Planning for a divorce will be useful to you and your children in the future. If you don’t prepare for it now, you might make the wrong choices and find yourself in a bad situation. Talk to a family lawyer who can help you through this process and make it tangible for you.

Understand What is Right and What is Wrong

Divorce affects children in many ways, both physically and emotionally. Although divorce itself can be traumatic, it doesn’t mean that everything else will be. Children are affected in many ways, including:

  • Loss of parental affection
  • Loss of family income
  • Loss of family assets
  • Loss of family unity
  • Changes in family roles and responsibilities
  • Loss of time spent with the parent that wasn’t otherwise being spent with the child
  • Loss of control over child’s future
  • Lack of stability in the home environment
  • Change in household rules and expectations
  • Changes in sibling relationships
  • Changes in peers, school, and extracurricular activities
  • Social isolation

Explain the Reasons Why

One common reason for divorces is that the people in a relationship have grown apart. It is not easy to break up with someone you love and trust. One of the best ways to make sure that your kids do not end up being caught in the middle of a divorce is to explain why you are getting a divorce. It gives them some kind of understanding of why you would be willing to give your ex a divorce and how it may affect your life.

Help Your Children Manage the Emotions

It is probably not obvious to you how difficult it is to deal with the emotions of divorce as a parent. Your children will have questions, doubts, fears and more. They may need reassurance that it is OK for them to feel as they do. So it would help if you were ready to help them manage their emotions. 

Children may react to divorce in several ways. Some may be angry, sad, worried, or confused. Others might be more curious or even indifferent to the situation.

Make Sure You Know Exactly What You Want Them To Know

Divorce mediation clients often ask, “What should my children know about our divorce?” At first glance, it may seem like an easy question to answer, but it gets complicated very quickly. Consider what you want your children to understand about your divorce. Do you want them to feel abandoned by you? Do you want them to resent you for hurting them? Or do you want them to see that you are still committed to them? Those are just a few possible outcomes, but there are many more.

If your kids are older, you may be able to answer their questions directly. Younger children will need help understanding, but you can use the above tips and ideas to keep them as far away from it as possible. Kids tend to feel like they need to be the ones to break bad news. Instead, try to think of yourself as a resource. Keep your cool and stay calm.

Make Your Ex Part of the Process

Your ex will have to understand why they should agree to a shared parenting plan if you decide to go to court and try to get sole custody. After all, if you’re going to spend money on court fees, you don’t want your ex to fight you in front of the judge and cause you to lose. You’d rather have them support you by agreeing to a parenting plan that makes them happy. It’s much better to spend the money on lawyers and other court costs if you have a child custody case than to put the kid through the stress of a messy split. If you can make your ex part of the divorce process, you’ll get more cooperation and respect for your case.

Get Help from Professionals

The key here is to go about this in the right way. The rule of thumb is to get help. Instead of asking your parents for advice, your lawyer, or a friend who knows nothing about the divorce process, seek professional help. There is no need to hire a private investigator or lawyer on retainer. Hire someone like a divorce coach or family lawyer who can help you understand your situation, identify any issues you have, and guide how to navigate a successful divorce.

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Written by: the Divorce Fast Team

Our team of Ontario lawyers has over 15 years of experience handling divorce and other family law matters.

All of our lawyers are in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario, and have the knowledge and experience to help and guide you through your family law issues. Whether your matter pertains to divorce, separation, custody/access, or support claims, we are the firm for you.

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