Coping with divorce is hard enough on the parents going through it, but it can be even more traumatic on the children involved. They do not understand the reasons why their once loving parents are getting divorced. The lives they once knew with both parents with them daily are no more. They may be consumed with confusion and, in some instances, may even blame themselves for their parents’ divorces. These fault-finding feelings must be extinguished by the children’s parents as soon as possible. Unfortunately, talking to their children about divorce is often a task that divorcing parents postpone—often way too long.
Children of divorcing parents need to “hear” from their parents about the reasons for the divorce. Therefore, communication between divorcing parents and their children is crucial to establishing the emotional stability of children after divorces. The discussions with children are not easy, and most parents feel inadequate in the means to present the topic of divorce and to explain the reasons for a divorce.
Below are some strategies to assist parents with discussing the divorce process with their children:
- Both parents should be present during the initial conversations with their children about divorce; they should present a united effort. Later, children may feel the need to speak with each parent privately.
- Each parent should give his or her reasons as to the decision for the divorce. No “fault-finding” statements or personal “jabs” between the parents should be made. The parents are divorcing each other—they are not divorcing from the children.
- Each parent must reassure the children that the divorce is not their fault.
- Both parents should be calm and collected and should present a positive (and loving) attitude during the discussion.
- Both parents should be “listeners” and allow the children to ask as many questions as they desire. The parents’ answers should reflect information that will reassure the children that they are going to be taken care of and that they still have both a “mom” and a “dad.”
The above suggestions are, by no means, the “total solution” to explaining divorce to children. Parents know which strategies work best with each child. Each family is different. However, the two main goals for all parents should be to assist their children with coping with divorce and to continue to support them in a manner that best addresses their needs.
If you are going through a divorce and need help through legal advice, contact CCL for a consultation with Huntsville Divorce Attorney, Charlotte Christian. She can help develop strategies for you and explain the Alabama divorce process.