MARIETTA, Georgia. More research indicates that children can be incredibly resilient, even in the face of immense loss. Divorce, like so many other losses, involves a grieving process, especially for children. When talking to your children about divorce, it is important to remember that they may be in shock. While you and your partner may have been aware that your marriage was coming to an end, for children, the news of divorce can seem sudden. It is important to plan ahead and consider how you’ll discuss your decision to split. Here are some things to consider:
- Find ways to minimize conflict during your divorce. The Greenville family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Linda C. Hayes note that divorce involves many complex legal questions that must be addressed. These legal questions, such as child custody, division of property, and debts, as well as decisions about the marital home can lead to more aggravated conflicts. Having a family lawyer guide you through the process, while also helping you understand your rights can help you and your ex navigate some of the more challenging conflicts that may arise. Ending your marriage sooner rather than later will also make it easier for your children to move on. You may even want to speak to a family attorney in Marietta, Georgia before you speak to your children. This way, when children have questions about where they will live, you’ll have answers.
- Plan when and where you’ll tell the children. According to Psychology Today, many children and adults remember the exact place and time they were told their parents were splitting. Learning that your parents are getting divorced can be highly traumatic. Children may need to cry or need space to be angry. Find a private safe place where children can feel free to express their emotions openly.
- Let your children experience and feel their painful emotions. Everyone experiences and processes pain differently. Children may be angry at their parents. Your children may be sad. Your children may be relieved that the fighting is over. Support the expression of these emotions and be supportive in talking about these difficult experiences. If you feel you need support, seek a family counselor to help your children work through their feelings.
- Let your kids know they are not alone. According to one woman writing for the New York Times, who faced telling her children the devastating news that their father had died while they were on vacation, the one thing she kept central in her mind was to put a focus on letting her children know that they were not alone in their grief and not alone in general. Divorce can be a tough time for everyone involved, but it can also help to build resilience. Parents can’t put an end to their children’s sad feelings about divorce, but by sharing their own feelings of sadness, grief, and anger, parents can let children know that they are not alone.
Divorce can ultimately lead children to be more self-reliant, more confident, and more resilient, but with proper support. The Law Offices of Linda C. Hayes are family lawyers who help divorcing couples resolve their legal issues so that they can focus on the issues that matter at home.