Telling your children about divorce can be difficult, but there are ways to make it less painful!
Reassure the kids that while some things will change, many things will not. This is not just your divorce, this is their divorce, too. Kids need to feel safe. Let them know they will still have both parents in their life. "We both love you and will continue to spend time with you. Everything will be ok!"
Invite their questions. Let them ask you any questions they have and invite them to talk to you at any time. It is important that kids feel invited to talk about their feelings or concerns. Emotions often come up later so let them know it's ok for them to talk with you. Invite and encourage it.
Check in with your kids from time to time. Despite your best efforts to make them feel safe to come to you, some kids will bottle up their emotions. Even if it annoys them, ask them how they are doing once in a while. Offer to speak with a third party or therapist if they would like to. Keeping the channels of communication open is your job as the parent and, as the adult, be the one to take the initiative to check in with how your kids are doing.
Get support from other adults...not your children. In the event you are having an especially difficult time, do not turn to your kids for support. While you are a human being and deserving of support of your own, it's your job to be there for your kids, not vice versa. Turn to a friend, family member, therapist, or hot-line if you are having an unusually difficult day. Divorce may be one of the most challeging changes you have ever experienced and it is perfectly understandable that as the person going through it, you may need additional support. No matter how tempting, however, get this support from adults rather than kids. How To Help A Friend Cope With Divorce
Even in divorce, most relationships don't end, they change. The purpose of divorce is to allow for a different type of relationship, ideally one as co-parents rather than husband and wife. No matter how hurt your feelings may be, it is always better for kids if their parents can have a mature, civil, and amicable relationship going forward. Divorce is about changing the terms of your current relationship in order to hopefully have a better relationship than you've had. How you and your spouse handle this change can make things easier or harder on your children and easier or harder on you. When sharing the news with your kids, try to be calm, kind and confident that things will turn out for the better.
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