- Know the plan
Parents should only let their children know that they're getting divorced until after they have already filed, found a new home for the parent who is moving out, have furnished it and have a concrete move-in date. They need a completed and specific plan to avoid anxiety. If you have more than one child, tell your children together and then discuss age-specific issues with children one-on-one and as needed.
- Watch kids extra close
After sharing your news with your child, pay attention to what your child says- or doesn't say- and say their behavior, says Frank J. Sileo, Ph.D., Ridgewood psychologist. Behaviors exhibited by your child that might need professional help/therapy:
- Crying periods
- Decreased school performance
- Decreased interests in activities
- Acting out at home or school (via tantrums or emotional outbursts)
Professional help can help alleviate pain, process feelings and thoughts, open up communication, and help prevent future problems.
- Consider contacting your child's teacher
It's smart to inform educators at your child's school about your divorce/separation.
- Reassure your kids they're not to blame
It's typical for kids to look for reasons why their parents are getting divorced. However,
As a parent, it's vital to keep the communication door open. Dr. Sileo said, “kids are naturally egocentric and think that their thoughts or behavior cause events.”
- Don't take their anger against you to heart
Children also have the tendency to become angry and look for someone to blame. Normalize their feelings and don't take it personally.
- Acknowledge that kids are quite intuitive
Kids can sometimes tell if your marriage is heading towards a divorce.
- Choose your words wisely
If you're getting divorced mainly because of an extramarital affair, Dr. Mann suggests leaving that detail out when it comes to the kids- at first. Here's why: “Telling children about an affair only creates more angst for them…. Children don't realize issues are complex. In addition, it sets them up to late either have affairs or else choose someone who will cheat on them.”
- Seek professional guidance
If you're still not sure how to break the news to your child, consult with a relationship therapist.
If you're going through a divorce with children involved, consult David Veliz at Veliz Katz Law to help make the journey as smooth as possible. Read the full article now by Rachel Sokol at Reader's Digest.