By Laura A. Good
The Gasper Law Group
A divorce is hard enough on the parents, but doesn’t have to be on your kids. Telling your children that Mommy and Daddy are getting divorced will probably be one of the most difficult talks you will ever have with your children. Most importantly, parents must prepare themselves in advance when talking to their children. Be aware of the words you use and of the impact your words will have on them. Depending on their age, the “scars of divorce” could carry with them the rest of their lives.
There are many common mistakes parents make during this difficult time. Here are just a few:
1. Sharing information only meant for adults or telling the children the “reason” for the breakup. Many times parents want to “win” over the children by telling them their side of the story. Only adults should be privy to hear this type of information. Telling your children that Mommy or Daddy had an affair and has now chosen someone else could be devastating to the children and how they view their parents. Telling your children the “dirty” details and information only creates undue stress on your children. Keep it simple, give them reassurance, and leave out the details.
2. Making the children choose. Often times the children are asked or pressured to choose between Mommy and Daddy. Don’t put them in this position. Reassure them you both love them and although you are no longer going to live together, you are still a family and that you love them very much.
3. One of these most important, if not most important, things to tell your children … it’s not their fault. All too often children assume that they are somehow responsible for your breakup. Your children are going to internalize the information you provide to them and assume they did something wrong to cause your breakup. It is crucial to remind them frequently that they shoulder no blame whatsoever in the breakup of your marriage.
Although you are no longer Husband and Wife, you will be forever be Mom and Dad. Continually give your children a positive attitude to face the upcoming changes in their lives with love, security and understanding.