In Collaborative Divorce, we have the benefit of using a professional team. The team includes mental health professionals and child specialists who provide expertise regarding talking to children about divorce. The mental health professionals serve as divorce coaches for the parties going through the divorce, while the child specialist is a mental health professional specifically trained in working with children through divorce. The Collaborative team guides the parties in formulating a plan on how to tell the children about the divorce. The child specialist can help identify the best way to tell the children based on the children’s developmental stages, personalities, and ages. The team helps both parents to have this conversation together with their children in a unified manner, that is not detrimental to the children.
Do’s and Don’ts for Talking to Your Children About the Divorce
- Do practice the conversation first – When talking to children about the divorce, it is a conversation that the parents plan together in advance. It is important for the parents to decide when and how they want to share this information with the children.
- Do tell the children together – Telling the children jointly is very important. One parent telling the kids without the other parent involved in that conversation can be confusing and detrimental. It is important to explain divorce to the children together, in a thoughtful manner that is appropriate for each specific child keeping their personality, age, and developmental stage in mind.
- Don’t bash the other parent – Both parents need to remember not to bash the other parent to the children. Children should not be involved in any of the details of the divorce or events leading up to it.
- Don’t cause further conflict – Both parents should be careful not to say anything that will cause a conflict in the relationship between the children and each individual parent.
- Do reassure the children – Continue to reassure the children. Let them know that they are still loved and supported by their parents during and after the divorce.
How parents handle conversations with their children during the divorce makes a significant impact on their children. The Collaborative Divorce process provides parents with the skills and guidance in not only how to tell their children about the divorce, but also provides the parents with a good co-parenting relationship long after the divorce is over.