What to tell the kids and how to tell the kids are pressing questions on most parents’ minds when it comes to divorce. And for good reason! Your children will remember this moment, how and what they were told, for the rest of their lives.
It’s understandable that parents are afraid of their kids’ big emotional reactions in the face of already feeling guilty about the divorce. Parents, rightfully so, expect their children to be upset, tearful, angry, sad. Parents often anticipate being blamed or feeling ashamed. On top of all that, parents have to figure out how much detail to tell the kids and how much to tell them about the reasons as well provide reassurances.
Telling your kids about your separation or divorce can be overwhelming for parents as well as kids. It is fraught with traps you want to avoid. It also offers places where you and your child can build trust and security.
For all those reasons, we (the CA Collaborative Divorce authors of the blogs) provide nearly everything you need right here. We will capture succinct guidelines in an easily digestible format that divorce experts agree on.
You don’t have to get this perfect, but you certainly want to get it ‘good enough.’
Navigating what and how with a divorce professional in mental health yields tremendous relief for parents and a path that is carefully crafted for your kids and your divorce/separation circumstances.
These professionals who work only with the adults in a divorce are called divorce coaches. A child specialist works with both parents and children but focuses on the kids. Many families use both in navigating telling the kids and beyond.
There are two organizations you can reliably find highly qualified divorce professionals:
Collaborative Divorce in your state (for California, www.cdcal.com)
Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts (AFCC, www.afccnet.org)
Whether it is what or how of telling your kids, remember that LOW conflict is king. There are dozens of studies that show parental conflict is closely associated with the children’s well-being: where there is high conflict, there is low well-being and where there is low conflict, there is increased well-being. In fact, kids fair the worst with high conflict between parents during and after the divorce.
In the following 2 blogs, you will learn, in a condensed format, from the best of the best in the field of divorce about:
- How to tell your kid(s)
- What to tell your kid(s)